It is estimated that the average person has about 60,000 thoughts a day. That may not astound you, but what if most of those thoughts were ones you entertained yesterday and 80% of them were negative? That is what research from the study of positive psychology and the work of Dr. Martin Seligman has found.
This research is validated in my work, as I'm constantly suggesting to clients that they shift a negative mindset about their career transition. It’s a common phenomenon for people to “fill in the blanks” of an unknown future scenario with less than positive possibilities. But I never really knew why negative thoughts seemed to stick in our minds like Velcro while positive ones seemed to slide more easily out of our consciousness.
Dr. Barbara Abramowitz, a Boston-based psychologist who spoke at a recent professional development meeting solved the mystery for me. She said that the Velcro vs.Teflon phenomenon is a genetic one and goes back to our primitive past when early humans were presented with life or death situations when anticipating escape routes or worst case scenarios were needed to save their lives.
But, this is the 21st century and there are no saber-toothed tigers lurking in our backyards. So, it’s in everyone’s best interests to bring our thinking up to date!
Negative thoughts stimulate depression and anxiety—neither of which support or foster successful career or life transitions.
So, when you find yourself imagining the worst—stop and breathe! Bring yourself back to the present and remind yourself what it is you truly want.
Identify one small step you can take immediately toward your goal. Chances are that this action will bring you back to the present moment and away from those thoughts triggered by fears from days as a cave dweller.
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