Do you struggle to imagine a positive vision of the future that you feel is achievable?
Your brain has something called a ‘negativity bias’ which means that, without intervention, for every three negative thoughts, it will have one positive thought. This is why it is so easy to slip into negative thought loops.
How does this impact our everyday lives?
Given that our thoughts create our experience of the world, constantly viewing things through a negative lens means we can struggle to imagine that there is anything positive ahead of us. Or, if we do imagine a positive future, our negativity bias is quick to throw in a few ‘yeah, but..’ blocks in the path of our optimism. (You) “This time next year I will have a new job paying me more working for a company I believe in.” (Your mind) “Yeah, but why would they hire you when they have so many amazing people to pick from? You don’t have as much experience as them. None of these companies are really that amazing anyway. As soon as you start you will be disappointed and regret leaving this job etc”. This negativity fuels your downward confidence cycle and blocks you from strategizing how to get to where you want to be. This results in you not even looking for that job and staying exactly where you are.
Having an upbringing in a challenging or unsupportive home environment, or having overly pessimistic and critical care givers can create a disproportionately negative outlook in some people.
Spend a moment regulating yourself (walking, breathing, stretching, listening to calming music etc) and then sit down with a clear head and blank sheet of paper. Imagine a genie had asked you what you want your life to look like 12 months from now (and you could have anything), write down what you would wish for. Consider your health, wealth, career, relationships and anything else important to you. Describe these things in as much detail as you can. Then, taking each item on your wish list, come up with as many ideas as you can to make these things a reality, as quickly as possible. Challenge yourself to come up with as many silly ideas as you can. Maybe play this game with a friend or partner for extra inspiration. You might be surprised how many are actually good ideas!
Download the worksheet below to find a more positive way forward.