Since our thoughts play a big part in our overall success and happiness, it’s important to learn to notice when we’ve fallen into a negative thinking pattern and how to make a thinking shift to improve our mindset.
There’s a reason why it’s so easy to find ourselves drowning in negativity at times and it’s helpful to look to our evolutionary past to understand why this problem persists. Our ancestors lived in small tribes surrounded by the challenges of the environment. Dangerous animals and hostile neighbors competed for resources. When humans worked together to manage threats and challenges, they were more likely to survive, produce children and pass on their genes to future generations. In an evolutionary timeframe, our ability to detect and respond to danger was critical for our survival as a species. Thus, our brains evolved instinctively and through conditioning with special sensitivity to danger.
We live in a far different world now from our ancestors or even our own parents. The problem is that our brains are still wired for our primeval safety. In today’s world, we understand that most of the “dangers” we perceive aren’t actual threats to our survival, but the part of our brain that processes this information doesn’t know that. This is why our mind will often conspire to keep us in the same patterns and behaviors, even when we’re aware that they aren’t helpful and are consciously trying to change them.
Because of how our brains evolved, negative thoughts will always be the first to come to mind. We can’t change this part of how our thinking process works but we can learn ways to teach our brain the difference between something dangerous vs. something unpleasant or uncomfortable. Saying daily affirmations is a powerful way to achieve this. With patience and practice, daily affirmations will help you to improve your mindset and increase your feelings of self-worth.