11 Unhealthy Mindsets Everyone Should Get Rid Of For A Better Outlook On Life
Most of us live our lives with routines, and this can include how we think as well. Since we may not pay attention much to the way our minds work, this can lead to us slipping into some negative ways of thinking, which means there are a number of unhealthy mindsets we should ditch. Shifting our ways of thinking can not only help us have a better attitude, but it can even help us accomplish our goals and help us through adverse situations in life.
Frequent negative thoughts may not seem like a big deal, but they can have profound consequences — and ones that build over time. "Unhealthy mindsets don’t produce a good quality of life because all our choices begin with our beliefs and thoughts," says Karen R. Koenig, MEd, LCSW over email. "They generate our behaviors and our emotions."
To help you shift your mindset to be more beneficial, I consulted with a few mental health experts to find out what detrimental mindsets everyone should ditch and why they're so impactful. If you think you might have a few bad attitudes, consider getting rid these 11 unhealthy mindsets that can have a negative effect on your life.
1. Believing You're The Victim
"If you think you’re powerless to change your life, it will stay exactly the same and you won’t be able to improve it," says Koenig. "If you believe you can chart your own course to greater or lesser extent, you will be able to shape your life to include happiness and success."
2. Believing You're Not Worthy
"If you feel unworthy, you won’t treat yourself — nor will others treat you — well," says Koenig. "When you believe you’re unworthy, it feels familiar when people treat you poorly. When you believe you’re worthy, it feels natural and normal to expect to be treated with respect and kindness."
3. Seeing Something As An Obstacle Rather Than An Opportunity
"When we are faced with problem or bumps in the road we have a choice whether or not we will focus on the obstacle and why it is in our way or we can see it as an opportunity to learn, grow or problem solve," says Cara Maksimow, LCSW, CPC over email. "Reframing obstacles as opportunities helps us see possibilities instead beyond the obstacle."
4. Believing Everything Is Permanent
"Another unhealthy mindset is believing in permanence instead of understanding that the world is constantly changing," says Maksimow. "When we see things as static, we can get stuck in situation and have a tough time seeing the positive beyond our challenges."
5. Thinking You'll Never Find Love
"If you think this way, you never will," says Dr. Kathy Gruver, PhD, LMT, CHt over email. "What we think about is shown in our attitude and on our face. If you spend your first date thinking he'll never love you, you can bet he probably won't. It's one of those self-fulfilling prophecies. Are you really putting your best effort forward if you think it won't work any way?"
6. Being Afraid You'll Get Sick
"I hear people saying this all the time," says Gruver. "'I hope I'm not getting sick.' 'Great my coworker was sick now I'm going to get it.' When we think these stressful thoughts it creates a fight or flight response in our body, as subtle as it maybe. With a fight or flight response in overtime, our immune system decreases, and we are more apt to get sick. So worrying about getting sick is not helping you — in fact it's probably making things worse."
7. Believing In Absolutes
Avoid using terms like "always" or "never." "This is distorted thinking — there is no always or never," says Gruver. "It's important to recognize these are not true statements and they lead to very negative outcomes."
8. Being Afraid Of The Doctor
Many of us fear seeing medical professionals because we don't want to face bad news or have to have medical procedures, but this could damage our health in the long run. "It's better to have bad news that is verified so it can be dealt with and handled, as opposed to either letting something get way bigger than it should've or worrying about it and not truly knowing," says Gruver.
9. Feeling Shaped By Your Past
"Life doesn’t start on a level playing field, but we can all heal and grow over time," says Koenig. "People who had trauma and abuse in their childhoods often believe they’re doomed to have miserable adulthoods. Believing that you can overcome a troubled childhood is where change starts."
10. Believing You Can't Do Something
We always learned growing up that can't is a dirty word, and it still holds true even as adults. "Maybe you can’t do something, but you won’t know until you try," says Koenig. "Believing you can may lead to your being disappointed, but it may also lead to success. When it comes to feelings, disappointment is far better than regret."
11. Believing That Life Is A Struggle
"If we tell ourselves that life is hard and a struggle, that is what it will become and how we will feel about it," says Koenig. "Life isn’t necessarily easy, but it’s important to have an 'I can do this' attitude. View life as a challenge, not a struggle."
These mindset changes don't happen overnight, but the more you work on them, the more of a habit they become.
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