Why do we think negatively?

Philosophy teaches us that thinking positively is the best way to be. But sometimes it’s not as simple as that, is it? Sometimes telling yourself everything will be OK, no matter how much you believe yourself, will not stop anger or sadness or frustration from surfacing.

Inside us there is a war between body and mind.

While I studied psychology we were taught to make habit of finding an evolutionary explanation for everything. I’ve been wondering why it’s so much easier to think negatively than positively. Perhaps expecting the worst makes you better prepared to deal with the worst scenario. Although I’ve found recently no matter how prepared you are, sad things will come and they will always be sad. So perhaps it’s a humbling technique more developed than the old time fight or flight. We tell ourselves not to try because to try is to make yourself vulnerable and outspoken and separate from others.

Negativity can take over us like wriggling, writhing disease. It’s easy to take. We cling to it dearly, or we throw it at others. But no matter how much we throw away there’s always more waiting and we can’t help ourselves but to hold out our arms and catch it.

The day I sat and thought of all this I realised that time had passed me by like a river through my fingers. How long had it been, two hours? I realised I could have done a lot more with my time than worry about the next ten years. To carry on that way would have opened up to a future saying “I told you so”. With life, what you put in is what you get out. We must be the change we wish to see (Ghandi).

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I will be following up this post tomorrow with some thoughts on ‘How Can we think more positively?’

2 thoughts on “Why do we think negatively?

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