The Don't Quit Podcast

The Dangers of Positive Thinking

Positive thinking and the pursuit of happiness are the cornerstone of self-improvement. Company cultures have also adopted this as employee happiness leads to customer happiness. This has created a focus on the mission goals (TyypoPrints is also based on this principle.) Which is important to discuss the dangers of positive thinking.

At first, business leaders taking the step in emotional health for their employees. While this is a good direction, but there’s thinking than it appears to be.

Is Positivity Good for Us?

During performance reviews, critiques, and addressing problems can be difficult for employees to hear. Negative thoughts tend close our focus. While removing other options so we get stuck in a negativity without a way to continue onward.

Encouragements that focus on the positivity in goals and opportunities. This improvement can actually open our minds to other possibilities. A positive mindset can help stable our levels of happiness by using creative thinking.

That feeling of happiness can often look past what started it. This is because feeling happy tends to increase our focus on other positive aspects of our lives. It also allows us to be more confident in taking more risks and less hesistant.

That pursuit of happiness can also make us unhappy. Which is most likely due to forcing positive emotions instead of feeling them.

Should We Have Less Positive Thinking?

Even though the most positive people look like they are succeeding in in personal relationships. Studies have shown from Scientific American that less happier people are more successful in personal relationships.

By forcing a positive thought into our heads, this actually puts us on edge. This is because we can’t ever relax in case a negative thought comes up. Which all causes stress and alertness rather than calm and relaxed. This is also extra harmful if we’re surrounded by people that expect us to be positive all the time.

While we may be more likely to think that our happiness is our fault, we’re still expected to see results in positive thinking which can turn into a vicious cycle. Unfortunately for those who have a low self-esteem who use positive affirmations (e.g. “I am a lovable person!”) can be detrimental. As people with low self-esteem tend to feel worse after hearing these affirmations because they disagree with them.

This why it’s important to feel negative emotions like anxiety and fear. They help us act more fitting to the situation. For an example, alerting us when there’s danger. Psychiatrist Mark Banshick says most people use positive thinking as a defense mechanism against negative thoughts such as anxiety rather than listening to that negative thought.

Anxiety is underlying an issue that needs to be noticed and by using positive thinking can cover that up which can hurt more than help. Even in business, this is a problem. Too much optimism has led a lot of entrepreneurs be too careless which as resulted in a lot of bankruptcies.

In some situations, negativity can actually be a positive factor in our performance. Studies have found people who have bad moods make more effective persuasive arguments than those who are in good moods. As well as improvement in memory and mental accuracy.

The chances of negative thinking can also be effective in reducing future problems. Such as imagining worst case scenarios in advance. This can help us be more prepared and in a more effective state of mind when the time arises. Where positive thoughts will have no preparation because they don’t see a need to.

But of course too much negative thinking is also harmful. Because it suppresses our immune system, increases stress, and our blood pressure.

Finding the Balance

This is what it all comes down to: Finding the balance in positivity and negativity. While being optimistic is important, but we don’t want to lose what’s realistic and what’s not. Psychologist Christopher Peterson calls this realistic optimism.

Instead of focusing on positive thoughts, realistic optimism is we should hope for the best, while preparing for the worst. Stay attentive to what can go wrong, and the problems you’re experiencing, rather than cover them up or pretending they don’t exist.

Another piece of advice is to avoid the positive affirmations if you have low self-esteem. Stating the phrases, “I’m confident” and “I’m smart” can make you feel worse. Even with those who have high self-esteem, positive affirmations only improve the mood and don’t have a lasting effect.

Finally, avoid pushing positive thoughts on your friends, family, and colleagues. When a pessimist uses negative thoughts as a coping mechanism this can be more positive. Unlike forcing positive thinking.

So allow yourself — and others — to experience all emotions to lead to a more healthier life. While being aware of the dangers of positive thinking.

How are you balancing your emotions?

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