How to be a less negative person in 5 steps

Negative thoughts can be more accurate than positive ones. But, if they are excessive, they denote an inner malaise on whose causes it is useful to reflect. We give you 5 keys to turn negative thoughts into positive ones.

Paul Watzlawick, in his book the art of embittering one”s life (Ed. Herder), details the ways in which human beings manage to negativize their lives through thought. According to him, “anyone can lead a bitter life, but making life bitter on purpose is an art that is learned, it is not enough to have some personal experience with a couple of setbacks”.

There are people who seem to use a state of the art radar to capture the negative another from World War I to perceive the positive.

But the truth is that negative thoughts affect us all to different degrees they sneak in as unwanted guests, blurring the present and the future, plunging us into destructive emotions and staining reality to the point that, in extreme cases, anything would be committed outrageousness to run away from it.

The cells of the immune system do not remain oblivious to our internal dialogue. Every time you have a negative thought, the brain releases substances such as adrenaline, cortisol, and other hormones that influence the nervous system, the muscles, and the cardiovascular, respiratory, and digestive systems.

“A negative thought weakens, causes discouragement, paralyzes but above all it prevents evolution because the brain circuits take the same route over and over again, locking the person in the complaint, the victimhood and the comfort zone in which they are A negative thought is distinguished because it does not lead to action or to something useful; it only considers the limitations, not the possibilities, ‘says Marta Ligioiz, a doctor specializing in behavioral neurobiology.

The people who have experienced negative experiences, especially in childhood, have more negative thoughts: your brain interprets this under the same key, but neither memories nor prophecies of failure should dye reality. In stages of change, uncertainty awakens more negative thoughts, but due to fear sometimes they also appear in infatuation and happiness. Negative thinking is intended to protect from dangers and shows weaknesses in a situation to remedy them.

Defending positive thinking is delusional and leads to denying problems. It is about cultivating realistic positivism because the positive and the negative are inseparable.

But is there a map to get out of this maze? Here we offer four keys to find out.


The problem is not so much the negative thoughts themselves as the repetition that forces you to stay in the groove they have traced.

Human beings produce tens of thousands of thoughts a day, but 95% of them are the same as the day before. That is to say, the mind can have something of a broken record. Not identifying with that repetitive fragment and seeking a more global perspective is the first step in finding a way out.

Striving to erase negative thoughts can be naive, because they arise automatically and unconsciously. Rather, it is about contemplating, listening to, or writing down those thoughts without judging yourself or giving them credit at first.


The American psychologist Barbara Fredrickson asked a group of students subjected to a high degree of stress to write every night about how good the situation they were experiencing was. Only with this habit negative thoughts were significantly reduced and fewer physiological alterations were recorded.

“Negative thinking is a distorted way of assessing reality because it only takes one perspective into account. But a problematic situation contains an opportunity to evolve and learn. Many people say that getting sick has made them more aware of their needs. The problem can be to face it from a defeatist point of view or as a possibility to develop new capacities. It is not a question of denying the problem, but of raising awareness and seeking a solution “, says Dr. Ligioiz.

Other useful questions are What benefits does this situation bring me? Have I overcome something similar before? What can I thank life for? The answers allow a glimpse of the light in the tunnel.

Sol Martínez, a specialist in NLP, points out: “The solution is not found at the same level of consciousness as the problem, that is why it is important to go out and contemplate it from the outside. It is useful to explain to a third party what concerns to confront the internal monologue with reality. Other questions to ask yourself are: ”Is what I am thinking completely true? Am I fully sure it is?” ”

And most of all: ” What would I be like without that thought? Can I let it go? What if I did?” This question is important to dismantle the trap of negative thinking, behind which a person can hide or justify what they do not face “.

Sol also proposes: “to qualify the generalizations that color reality without nuances; for example, if I say to myself: ”The same thing always happens to me’, it is essential to specify: ”When has this happened to me and when not”?”.


When reality is negatively valued through thought, it is done on the basis of a personal and subjective scale of values. However, it is naive to pretend that life conforms to what each person expects of it, to their ideal of justice or perfection.

Fighting brings useless suffering. And how many times does what is valued as the worst over time become what he taught the most?

Mireia Darder, a Gestalt psychologist and therapist, points out: “ It is not about judging what happens as good or bad, but about accepting it. It is important to say yes to these thoughts and the pain they produce instead of fighting with them, as well as saying yes to the situations that wake them up.

“This does not mean agreeing or resigning, but neither does it mean being positive at all costs. Positive thinking can favor denial rather than acceptance. It is as if the light is sought by killing the darkness, when life resides in both. However, If I say to myself: ”Yes, this causes me pain”, then I am more capable of going through it. It changes more from acceptance than from struggle, because then the serenity that allows discovering new resources appears “.

This acceptance is easier to achieve if it is accompanied by an indulgent attitude that counteracts the eternal demand, the critical sense and the perfectionism.

“Other cultures naturally facilitate this acceptance, but the Western one is addicted to perfection and the more we tie ourselves to the perfect the more we disconnect from life. Often the best is the enemy of the good. Perfectionism involves a demand and dissatisfaction that fill the mind with negativity “ adds Mireia Darder.

“Shame, a source of negative thoughts, derives from the idea of not being perfect before the other. Anxiety arises because we are not what we want to be or what we are. And let”s not forget that negative thinking has a function: it allows take a break from the grueling demands of addiction to perfection. ”


A cockroach asked a centipede: how do you manage to move so many legs in a coordinated way? And reflecting on the matter, the centipede was unable to take another step.

To some extent, thinking can mean ceasing to exist. Truly useful thinking occurs when the person is so connected to the present that it moves them to influence it.

The rest of the thoughts are linked to the past, which no longer exists, or they are an anticipation of the future, which is not real either.

The simple act of moving dilutes negative thoughts. It is difficult to maintain them when walking through a landscape other than usual, sharing a good meal or doing any pleasant activity.

“In inactivity the level of serotonin in the brain decreases, while in activity it rises and serotonin improves mood. If faced with a situation that fills me with negative thoughts, I take action and look for a solution, the Intuitive, logical and unconscious capacities of the brain to go towards it. Many brain areas are activated to value opportunities where before there was nothing but disaster. Then you bet on yourself! “, says Marta Ligioiz.

The most helpful question to take action and find a way out of the maze is: what can I do to ease the situation? It will be the way to put a direction to thought and take responsibility to promote change.


  • Lower to the body. Negative thoughts have an effect on the body, just as they proliferate when you are sick, tired, or hungry. If negative thoughts increase, it is convenient to observe if there has been an imbalance in the diet, if there is a lack of exercise, sleep, rest that is, if the needs of the body have been met. It is useful to become aware of what sensations these thoughts provoke, where the tension accumulates, observe the breath, breathe in and, above all, take the air out deeply to facilitate relaxation.
  • Unmask the character. Each negative thought hides an inner character: a severe judge, a punishing witch, a demanding father, a fearful mother. Unmasking it allows you to give voice, understand your intention and deactivate it.
  • Drain the negative. Thinking negatively for half an hour a day – and no more writing everything down helps to keep your mind clear the rest of the time. It is important not to reread.
  • Take fear to the extreme. Fear causes negative thoughts. Brief strategic therapy proposes to exaggerate them and, at a peak, sustain the emotion and see what happens. Anticipation is the result of fear of the future and usually begins with a “what if”. It is important to detect and not respond to these thoughts in order not to feed them.
  • Think the opposite. Those who fear that they will not make ends meet can remember the times when they did. Or, without expressing the negative, you can change the dynamics by looking for something to be thankful for in life.
  • Rate the positive. Rewriting the biography in a positive key change the pessimistic view of some people. You can also start the day by visualizing something positive. Or, at night, write down everything that has been done, excluding the negative, and value the day between 1 and 10.

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