Bad thoughts and malaise

Who I am
Robert Maurer

Bad thoughts and malaise

Sometimes bad thoughts can make an already compromised health situation sick or worsen. It is better not to always believe what you think.

Last update: 18 September, 2020

Arrive at the office and greet everyone with a cheerful “Good morning!”. Everyone responds kindly to you, except one colleague who doesn't even look at you. And you think “What's the matter with him? Did I do something bad to him? Will he be angry about something I said or did? Maybe a comment from yesterday at the general meeting? No, it can't be because of that… But how rude! ”. In short, a spiral of bad thoughts quickly takes over your mind.

This long list of questions and concerns will only help make you feel sad, angry or nervous. The influence of bad thoughts can foster some discomfort, regardless of their real validity.

In the example given, it may be that the colleague did not respond to the greeting simply because he was very busy or distracted at the time and, perhaps, he did not even see you. In this article, we will help you understand why it is important to avoid these bad thoughts that ultimately harm our well-being.

"Nothing is good or evil in itself, it is the thought that makes it so."


Does the discomfort come from a real situation or from bad thoughts?

When we experience negative emotions, we think they derive from concrete situations or from the actions of others. That is to say, we believe that our discomfort is caused by events unrelated to our person. In other words, we create causal attributions, external to our feelings.

We believe we are angry that our colleague has not greeted us, something we cannot control. Instead of realizing that we can regulate the emotions that arise if we do not focus on the actions of others, but on how we interpret them.

What does all this mean? We are simply angry at our interpretation of the situation. We thought that the colleague did not answer us because he has problems with us or because he is rude ... Thinking like this, everyone would end up getting angry. What happened, actually and objectively, shouldn't bother us.

"When we believe in something, this belief usually stays with us for the rest of our lives, unless we put it to the test."

Richard Gillet

If instead of these bad thoughts, our mind had elaborated less negative phrases, such as: “Maybe he didn't hear me” or “He's too busy and is focused on work”, most likely the discomfort would not have occurred.

Do you agree? It is the way we interpret the situation that gives rise to any possible discomfort. This example highlights a reality that we do not always keep in mind, or of which we are not even aware: the influence of thoughts on discomfort can be very strong.

Are bad thoughts justified by reality?

This influence of thoughts on discomfort occurs even when they are unrealistic. Usually the mind is not interested in deciphering whether a hypothesis is true or not. We believe it only because we thought it.

Even if the work colleague has absolutely done nothing wrong, bad thoughts begin to add up in our head which, inevitably, will lead to a malaise, yes, absolutely real. Very often, however, what is generated by the mind remains in the sphere of "possibilities" and is denied by reality.

This happens because human beings need to know the why of things. If we do not have sufficient information on the facts, various prejudices come into play that lead to conclusions that are not always realistic. In this way, a myriad of negative emotions surface that would not exist even if we tried to think more realistically.

What we think is not always true. If we can learn to question our inner dialogue, we will be able to regulate our emotions more effectively. The influence of thoughts on malaise can also be used to our advantage. But how? The use of positive self-instructions to replace those negative cognitions can be a valuable aid in the search for emotional balance.

Understanding how to manage what goes on in our mind is one of the keys to psycho-physical well-being.

It is not an easy process, but with work and perseverance we can all achieve it. The first step is to understand and internalize the influence of thoughts on malaise, aware of theimportance of questioning and changing bad thoughts that have nothing to do with reality.

Images courtesy of Roberto Nickson.

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