Negative thinking can cause a person to jump to conclusions without checking out all the facts. We all have negative thoughts at one time or another; negativity is normal. When we start to “paint every situation with the same brush”, we fail to remain objective and make effective decisions.
Have you ever let your imagination run wild wondering why you haven’t heard from someone? Have you ever wondered why someone else got promoted over you? Have you ever made an assumption and realized you are totally wrong? Reality testing helps you remain objective so that you can identify and understand the emotions you are feeling and deal with what drives them.
“The things that never happen, are often as much realities to us, in their effects, as those that are accomplished.” – CHARLES DICKENS, David Copperfield
Reality testing is part of Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theory in which the ego is able to recognize the difference between the external world (reality) and the internal world-the world of the mind. Testing reality is the ability to see a situation for what it really is and allows the ego to distinguish between fears, beliefs, hopes and actual reality.
When you think negatively about a situation, you may think that the worst will happen which destroys any positive energy which drives you toward a purpose and drains the possible resources. Doubt creeps in. Negativity is compounded when there is a sense of distrust or you get involved in gossip.
Negativity or errors in one’s thinking such as over-generalization, “all or nothing” thinking, blaming others or excepting blame when there’s no one to blame to be had can all lead to anxiety which in turn impacts a person’s behavior. Your thoughts and feelings influence the actions you take. When a negative outcome comes occurs, you may feel defeated and discouraged. Your mind will start searching for negative memories to rationalize the outcome to support why something happened to you and this rationale will become a new belief.
“Reality is determined not by what scientists or anyone else says or believes but by what the evidence reveals to us” –Alan Hale
In order to combat this way of thinking, you need to consider everyone involved in a situation, the circumstances, environment, and all potential outcomes and effects. Re-frame the situation into a positive thought or feeling. By putting things into perspective, you become “emotionally balanced” and you are able to make effective decisions. You can get rid of negative emotions through utilizing positive self-talk, reminding yourself that first impressions are not always correct, challenging assumptions, self-reflecting on strong emotions when they arise, or by asking someone you trust for their perspective. When you purge negative emotions, you are able to adapt to situations with ease and you are able to face life situations with courage and conviction therefore, improving your coping skills.
How do you ensure your emotions do not get the best of you when making decisions?
What ways do you challenge your assumptions to verify if something is true of not?
Reality testing helps combat negativity. You can choose to stay away from being a part of the water cooler gossip or negative conversations. Re-frame your negative self-talk. Remember your emotions guide you and give you information about your reality. Treat each situation as a new situation. Ask questions. Check out all the facts before jumping to conclusions and letting the negative part of your imagination run too wild before determining the truth.
What ways do you combat negative thinking?
How has negative thinking impacted your reality?
DEBRA KASOWSKI, BScN CEC is an award-winning best-selling author, transformational speaker, blogger, and Certified Executive Coach. She has a heart of a teacher and is certified in Appreciative Inquiry and Emotional Intelligence. She is a contributing writer for Diversity Magazine and Fabulous at 50 Magazine. Debra Kasowski International helps executives, entrepreneurs, and organizations boost their productivity, performance, and profits. It all starts with people and passion. www.debrakasowski.com