Overcoming Your Negative Addiction

Yesterday we talked about why it sometimes feels so good to be negative. We learned about how negative emotions can feed the pleasure center as much as truly pleasurable things. As it turns out, pain and negative emotions (e.g. self-pity, anger, guilt) also activate the beta-endorphin and dopamine pathways. So negative is addicting, now what?

Today let’s talk about how to change our negative thinking.

Your addiction to the negative is serving a need. What is that need? The first step is to discover the perceived deficit in you that creates your need to diminish someone else. Perhaps you look at others and are negative about their appearance because you are unhappy with your own image. Perhaps you are targeting yourself with your negative thoughts. Again, you must dig in and find the root and understand why you feel the need. Find the courage to determine what you need that you’re not getting.  It may help for you to list three things that you feel you’re running from in your life. What are you using your addictions to avoid? Get to the heart of the matter. You can not truly change without getting at the heart of the matter.

If you’ve tried to overcome an addiction before and weren’t able to, the biggest barrier to your success is the belief that you cannot succeed. Suddenly this seems like a vicious cycle. Our biggest obstacle to overcoming our addiction to negative thought; the thought that we can not succeed!

Let’s imagine you wanted to teach a kid how to ride a bike. You’ve taught lots of kids and you’re sure this kid can make it; however, he doesn’t believe he can. He tried to learn before but was not taught correctly. Now he’s sick and tired of failing. You know that the only thing holding him back is his belief that he can’t do it.

Imagine that the kid in the above example is you; and the bike is your negative thoughts and attitude. How do you convenience yourself that you can succeed? As strange as it may sound, behave your way to success. Instead of being afraid to be who you are. Instead of trying to diminish others build yourself up. Learn how to own your positive feelings. Celebrate your positive feeling.

If you want to get rid of negative behavior, you have to replace it with something positive – something that will make you stronger instead of weaker. Work on identifying positive behaviors that would make good replacements for your addictions.

Spend some time today alone with you.


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Are you addicted to the negative?

I barely know who Miley Cyrus is but a few days again I encountered this quote from her ‘You can’t live a positive life with a negative mind’. A mind becomes negative because we feed it negative. From the daily news to our personal encounters, we focus on the negative.

I attended a street fair over the weekend. Like any public event, people watching opportunities abound. After several hours of being entertained by my people watching adventure, I realized that it was those people where I had a negative comment that attracted most of my attention.

It often seems that we are genetically predisposed to be negative toward others and to crave negative from others. What I have learned in my research is that pain and negative emotions activate the reward centers of the brain, causing unconscious addiction to those negative emotions. The reward center of the brain is usually considered the pleasure center, it’s the place where the brain gets excited and ‘lights up’ and enjoys the sensation. It is the pleasure center that creates a self-reinforced addiction. We all know that people become addicted to sex, or drugs or exercise because it activates the beta-endorphin or dopamine pathways.

As it turns out, pain and negative emotions (e.g. self-pity, anger, guilt) also activate the beta-endorphin and dopamine pathways. As a result we can become addicted to these emotions and negative thoughts. It makes sense that when you’re stressed or in a flight-or-fight situation, your brain releases dopamine.

Are you addicted to the negative?

Tomorrow we’ll talk about how to overcome your addiction to the negative


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