Emotions are a part of our life. You have the right to take your time to grieve, feel frustrated, or angry. While you are processing events in your life, you can experience positivity or toxic positivity. Both of these feelings can be damaging. Neutral thinking is a healthy coping mechanism that can replace toxic positivity and set you on a more stable path. Let’s look at how toxic positivity can hurt you and how you can replace positive thinking with neutral thinking.
A study from 2019 showed evidence that positive thinking can undoubtedly have a positive impact on your mental well-being. However, positivity can become toxic if we refuse to acknowledge our negative feelings. Often, you are your own worst enemy; your urge to act happy and try to find the positive in everything can negate how you genuinely feel. When you push down your feelings and try to look at the positive, you silence your inner emotions—emotions like grief, frustration, and depression.
Another form of toxic positivity is when someone tells you to “fake it to make it.” The expectation from others to pretend you are happy represses your natural response to situations and can leave you struggling to cope with challenging situations. The assumption you can move on or see the positive in a stressful situation demeans your feelings.
Common toxic positivity responses:
- Telling someone who lost a loved one to be happy because they have a child, family, or friends
- Saying, “everything happens for a reason”
- Pushing someone to focus their thoughts on the good things when they lose a loved one
- Being told to move on when you are grieving or suffering from a traumatic event
- Hearing you need to thrive despite the adversity you are facing
- Someone is telling you, “it could be worse”
Trevor Moawad, a mental conditioning coach, established the concept of neutral thinking. Neutral thinking recognizes that your success is a result of your behavior, mental well-being, and language. Language, in this case, is how you speak to yourself.
When a stressful event occurs, you experience intense emotions. The goal of neutral thinking is to learn how to separate your feelings from your behavior. Instead of thinking about what is wrong with a situation, assess the situation.
How to Achieve Neutral Thinking
Your feelings are uncontrollable, but how you react or your behaviors are controllable. Through therapy, you can learn how to place your emotions and your behaviors into separate spaces. For example, when you face a challenge, what is your reaction? Do you tell yourself you can’t do it? Or do you say everything will sort itself out? A person who practices neutral thinking will assess the situation and break the problem down into manageable goals.
Negative thinking affects how you behave. You can receive praise for an article or a song you wrote; art critics can rave about your exhibit, but what are you likely to remember? A negative review. You tend to dwell on the bad rather than look at the good. Reducing your negativity can improve your mental well-being. How can you do this?
- Reduce negative influences in your life
- Instead of obsessing on what you don’t have, focus on what you do have
- Don’t put negative thoughts or feelings in the air. What you speak out loud affects how you react
Neutral thinking allows you to discover the steps you need to take to learn. Your behavior, breaking your goal into attainable milestones, helps you be more productive and stimulate your creativity.
Your past is the past; your future is separate from the past. If you continue to repeat past behaviors, you shouldn’t expect a different result. When you replace past behaviors with new behaviors, change can happen. Change happens when you assess the situation with clear thinking, decide on the best course of action, and take steps that will create different results. Here are some ways to achieve neutral thinking:
- Plan your behavior. When you set a goal, decide what behaviors you need to implement to achieve your goal. Use those behaviors to govern your responses or reactions to obstacles.
- Leave fear behind. You know the behaviors you need to achieve your goal, so what’s stopping you from getting there? Fear. You may not know how to get to your goal so pay attention to what you do know. Focusing on the “worst-case” gives your emotions control. No one knows what could happen; avoid giving power to your fear because you can’t control things around you. You can manage your behavior.
- Change your language. Instead of telling yourself you can’t do something, tell yourself how to achieve your goal.
Neutral thinking aids you in recognizing what is in the past is done, but you can change the future by shifting how you think. When you remove emotions from a situation, you allow yourself to assess the event and feel a plan that will aid you in achieving your goal.
How you think affects your life. Through planning and deliberation, you can achieve your goals. How you handle traumatic events or stress can determine how you feel about your life. The presence of toxic positivity suppresses your emotions, increasing the risk of substance addiction or damage to your mental health. If you or those around you replaced toxic positivity with neutral thinking, you could shift how you see your life. The act of turning your thoughts to neutral thinking helps you assess a situation, decide what needs to be done, and act without emotion interfering with your success. Alta Centers Inpatient Rehab offers medically supervised detoxification which aids you in rediscovering your creativity or other abilities. You deserve to have a life filled with success. Detoxification and therapy are essential steps on your way to learning how to rid yourself of negative thinking and toxic positivity. To learn more about how you can take the first step, call Alta Centers at (888) 202-2583.