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The Positive About Negative Thinking

by Tanya Agarwal

Lately, a lot has come out about the power of Negative Thinking. Anna Sarah’s latest book Get your Shit Together is all about psyching yourself out to get going in your life. The happiness gurus have touted so much about extreme optimism and happiness which sure isn’t wrong but there are enough of us out there who wallow in these two words and miss the big point. Being a constant happiness seeker maybe an overrated hobby!!!

Considering everything that could go wrong – is the way to perform better! How?

  1. Sometimes you need to psyche yourself out

When I got pregnant, people told me to rest, eat for two, gain some weight and take life easy! I envisioned a round woman sitting on her bum, eating endlessly and looking frustrated! That’s not what I wanted to be. Exactly that is not what I wanted to be. So I decided to take charge of my health and stay very active through my pregnancy. I enrolled in a pre natal yoga class, made every day walks my religion, ate well, ate when I was hungry. 9 months of good health through the pregnancy, I landed myself an easy normal delivery and was active enough to look after a baby. I found it easier to get my pre pregnancy weight back too! Yes I psyched myself out to get positive results.

  1. Negative thinking helps you deal with challenges better

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How? As a runner who is aspiring to do a full marathon my negative thinking envisions me not being able to finish the race of 42.2km. I imagine getting really tired, getting injured during the run and giving up half way. Questions come in – what if I get too tired too soon, what if I am injured before or during the run? Suddenly before these visions and questions solidify into detrimental negative thoughts, the optimist in me redirects the negative thinking into an action plan – on how not to feel that way. So I train hard, I look after my pre and post run nutrition to keep my energy levels up, work on staying injury free? I am working extra hard to take on the unseen challenges.

In the case of a teenager, who is working hard to get into a good medical college –  Negative thinking brings in visions of not having made it to the college of her ambitions. Questions come in – What if the entrance exam is too tough, what if the question paper pattern has changed, what if she is under prepared? The fighter in her quickly gets into action and prepares a plan for the unseen challenges.

  1. Wallowing in optimism and positive thoughts make you lazy

Don’t get me wrong. The world belongs to the optimist. But an optimist without an action plan is actually just waiting for things to happen. The pregnant me was very positive about my health, but what’s positive without being productive. The student is optimistic about an ambitious future – but that is possible only when you list your challenges and fears that could come in your way and start dealing with them one by one.

Yes you keep your spirits high, stay positive but under that never say die spirit – have a plan of action and burn the midnight oil to make things happen.

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But steer clear of this:

Its hard to always control what we think. Negative is negative and this is where being optimistic helps. When the real negative thoughts come in, the ones that can pull you down towards anxiety, stress, depression, then let the optimist in you tale charge (optimists are humans too who are thrown everything at like other people) – redirect your negative thoughts to make some action happen.

Here are some examples of everyday negative thinking driving productive outcomes:

  1. Exercising because you don’t want to be unfit for your bucketlist – like treks, running marathons or just generally feeling and looking good.
  2. Eat well because you don’t want lifestyle diseases.
  3. Wake up early to do the extra because you don’t want to feel undone by the end of the day
  4. Spend time with your family because you don’t want to let go of those moments
  5. Work extra hard on what you want to achieve because you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity.

As I had mentioned below – don’t let shallow optimism and positive thinking cage you or make you lazy to get what you are really capable of. List your challenges, face you fears, think through your process and get an action plan to achieve what you have set out for!

Harness the positive power of negative thinking. Stay Wellthyfit! Fit in mind and body!

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