why negative thoughts seem so right



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This article is excerpted from the book, Antivirus For Your Mind.

This article is part of a series called Antivirus For Your Mind.

THE NEGATIVE thoughts you have and your (occasionally) mistaken explanations of setbacks seem completely natural. The explanations do not appear in your mind as “A Possible Explanation For This Setback.” You just seem to “know” what caused the setback, usually without giving it another thought.

Your explanations feel natural, but remember this: They only feel natural because you’ve been thinking that way for a long time. Your explanations are familiar. When you change your explanations, when you remove some of the mistakes in your thinking, they will not feel as natural at first because — and only because — they are unfamiliar. But after awhile, they will feel as natural as anything.

The assumptions that flit through our minds with the greatest of ease and make us feel demoralized are common assumptions like these:

I blew my diet because I’m a pig with no willpower.

I didn’t exercise this week because I’m lazy.

I need to face the fact that I’ll never be able to do this.

That’s the way the economy is going; it’s getting harder and harder to make a living.

I’m a loser.

There aren’t enough hours in the day.

I don’t have enough motivation.

I don’t have enough self-discipline.

I’m too old.

Nothing can be done about it.

Everything is a hassle.

Nothing comes easy.

These statements are demoralizing. Do the statements contain mistakes or don’t they? We’ll find out soon enough. But I cannot emphasize enough we’re not talking about “looking on the bright side” or trying to cover ugly reality with pretty thoughts. The fundamental point we are making is that if you think a situation is hopeless and you believe you can’t do anything about it, you should look carefully at that assumption because it is usually wrong. This idea is powerful and effective, and it works with everyday setbacks as well as major disasters.

Read the next chapter: Disaster At Sea

This article is excerpted from the book, Antivirus For Your Mind.

Author: Adam Khan
author of the books, Self-Help Stuff That Works and Antivirus For Your Mind
and creator of the blog:
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