Negative Self-Talk, Negative Thoughts, Negative Emotions
Although intelligentwomenonly.com started out and continues to focus on women’s negative self-talk habit, a recent spate of studies/articles points out that, “Negative emotions are essential for mental health,” according to Tori Rodrigues’s article “Taking the Bad with the Good” from Scientific American Mind, May/June 2013.
What are negative emotions? Sadness, anger, frustration, anxiety etc. How are they connected to negative thoughts? What’s the difference between negative self-talk and negative thoughts?
• Negative self-talk, as most people use the phrase, defines self-criticizing thoughts such as “I look terrible in these pants”, “What is wrong with me? I’m an idiot sometimes.”
• Negative thoughts usually refer to pessimistic thinking in general. “The world is heading for disaster,” “My daughter made a huge mistake marrying that jerk,” “The economy stinks.I know I’m going to lose my job.”
Both negative self-talk and pessimistic thinking lead to negative emotions, which then often create stress, but there are benefits, according to Rodrugues.
Benefits of Negative Emotions
Here are the benefits of experiencing negative thinking of both kind, which leads to negative emotions:
• Emotions of any kind help us evaluate our experiences.
• When negative thoughts accompany realistic thinking, a feeling of improvement in well-being still happens.
• Bad feelings can be a clue to issues (health, work, relationships) that need attention.
• Attempting to suppress negative emotions can produce a rebound affect — you think/feel even more frequently, intensely and are more stressed.
I think the cost outweighs the benefits, and the route to letting go of both negative self-talk and pessimistic thinking is similar, although not exactly the same. More to come about how to diminish both.