Far too many individuals allow themselves to harbor negative thoughts regularly. Did you know that these unhelpful thought patterns negatively impact your brain health? Luckily, there are various simple activities or exercises you can perform that help you focus on the cause of these patterns, reframe the actual problem, and take your control back.
Let us think about this from a scientific perspective; when you think about things, your brain releases chemicals that affect the way you feel and react. This reaction is almost instant. Hence, when you think about negative influences, your brain releases a dose of specific chemicals that make you feel worse about the situation.
However, nobody is saying that fixing this issue is a simple task; many individuals do not have any sense of control over their thoughts or emotions. Automatic negative thoughts are overwhelming and often take over people’s brains. Overall, the more negative thoughts you have, the greater the intensity of the attack on your brain.
How Do Negative Thoughts Affect Your Brain Health?
Several studies indicate that negative thoughts affect the ability of your brain to perform properly. This type of negatively significantly impacts two regions of the human brain: the cerebellum and temporal lobes. (1), (2)
The cerebellum is generally one of the most active areas in the human brain. Studies show that when you focus on negativity, the cerebellum starts to shut down. This is located towards the back of your brain and is involved in organizing your thoughts and motor coordination. It is vital when trying to process complex information. Reduced activity in this region of the brain often results in people being clumsier regarding cognitive processes and physical movement.
Secondly, when someone thinks negatively, the activity of the temporal lobes starts to plummet. This section usually plays an essential role in memory, mood, and temper control. Various forms of depression, dark thoughts, memory issues, and violence often result in decreased activity of the temporal lobes.
What Are the Long-term Impacts of Negative Thinking?
The link between brain health and thought patterns is evident. Sad thoughts result in signs and activities often associated with depression.
Unfortunately, the effects of this are not short-term. Constant negative thoughts start to rewire your neural network, which strengthens the features in your brain that make you always view the glass as half-empty. This goes a step further as it starts to reduce the functions in your brain that deal with judgment, planning, and self-control. As a result, you are more likely to make bad decisions, which only leads to further negative thoughts. Do you notice the patterns here?
It is a constant downwards spiral that seriously affects your overall health and well-being for the worse. The more you allow and invite these thoughts into your brain, the greater the chances of feeling angry, depressed, or anxious. Additionally, this has adverse effects on your professional and working relationships.
How Can You Defeat Your Negative Thoughts?
With consistency and practice, you can learn how to overcome your negative thought patterns (3). One of the simplest ways to do this is to pay attention to your thought patterns and start identifying the negative ones.
The next step is to write down what goes through your mind, identify the exact type of thought, and respond to it. When you feel angry, sad, anxious, or out of control, talk back to the feeling in a way that eliminates the power it has over your mind.
Having the ability to challenge negative thoughts with honest, objective, and rational thinking is an extremely powerful tool that can boost your mood, improve the functionality of your brain, and enhance your quality of life.
Do you have a musical instrument you enjoy playing? Then build this activity into your everyday life regularly to encourage positive thinking. Our regular to-do list mostly dominates our everyday life. Activities that make our hearts open are seldom on our lists. Everything else so often seems more urgent.
Joyful activities are good for us, such as cooking, watching your favorite movie, going for a walk, painting, or playing a musical instrument. When you enjoy doing something, it makes you think more positively, and you feel more optimistic.
The Bottom Line
Experiencing negative thoughts is one thing but believing them is something else. Do not let negativity disrupt the optimal functionality of your brain. Feeding into these thoughts is only going to wreak havoc in your life. Individuals need to learn how to examine their thoughts and determine whether the feelings are true or not.
Do your thoughts help or hurt you? You need to challenge the way you think so you do not believe the negativity or let it ruin your brain and life. It is time to make changes to correct the negative patterns you have allowed your mind to develop.
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Sara Leandro is a certified health coach who helps others feel their best through individualized lifestyle changes that meet their unique needs and health goals. She covers topics ranging from health and productivity to relationships.