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Negative Thinking Does Not Automatically Cause A Negative Outcome!


Hotaru

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Just a small gripe this morning, since one of the least supportive, most clueless people who used to be in my life suddenly came to mind, but it's something to consider if people who don't understand depression start instructing you on how to "get over it":

Ever have that friend who said "You need to stop all that negative thinking! If you keep thinking that way, that's just what's going to happen!"

Oh really?.....

And by that logic, if I think $500,000 is going to drop on my head one fine day, will THAT happen, too? Because that would be awesome.

If I "think positive" and believe my ailing mother is NOT going to die from the chronic disease she's been suffering from her entire life, will that stop her from dying, too? It didn't, no matter how much care, and how many positive thoughts I did sincerely send her way.

If I simply "believe" I'm going to have passed my 17th job interview in a row, does that mean I'll get the phone call telling me I got the job tomorrow?

Yeah...It's bullcrap.

It's bullcrap by people who most likely DON'T CARE, and are just trying to get their supposed friend or loved one to stop talking about their worries or concerns, or other negative thinking brought on by their depression. Probably the words of someone who has never (yet) even had a major setback in their lives. They cannot relate, and ones who say things like that don't even seem to want to try to.

A tactful person who was actually sensitive toward the needs and insecure feelings of a depressed person wouldn't guilt their friend with the SHOULDS. If anything, the only tactful way around the Negative Thinking Iz Bad argument is that you've got to try to be positive because thinking negatively wastes what precious energy you may have to get through your day. That doesn't mean we need to just snap into positive thinking giddiness, but maybe instead of focusing on the negative, we can try as hard as we can - perhaps through distraction - to put the problem out of our minds to get some relief for as long as we can. Just for our own sanity. In order to be kind to ourselves. It can be so hard to think positively when we're so down we don't even know how it feels to be our normal selves again, but what we DON'T need are people around us who are trying to tell us that every negative thought we have is going to result in a negative action. That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. THINKING ANYTHING does not make it happen. If it did, we could become rich by selling our telepathic or psychokinetic powers, don't you think?? XD

I'm not saying let's all purposefully become all-negative all the time brooders, I'm just saying it's ok to not feel guilty and even more horrible when some insensitive, ignorant person says something like that. It's akin to the old standard, "Just snap out of it!" Not good. Not helpful. You don't need it.

Big hugs to all of us who are struggling through the day today.

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p.s the author of "The Secret" is on record as saying that the victims of the Tsunami a few years back must have been emitting "Tsunami-like vibrations."

Of all of the ugly and ignorant remarks I've heard said after the disaster, that's got to be the cruelest.

Exactly...It's people like that who we need to stay far away from. I'm often inspired by the people who have it so rough in life, and somehow they still manage to keep a smile on their face, but is that putting them into a better situation? Pfft, no, they've just managed to change their thinking to hopefully be able to cope better with what they've got to work with in their lives. It's so awesome to be in a place where we can somehow feel enlightened, in spite of a hopeless situation, but it doesn't just start causing flowers to start blooming out of our ears! ;) I mean, I can see the point where having a cheerful attitude can draw people to you who might be kind and encouraging, and possibly even able to help in some way or other, but that's about as far as I feel that kind of influence will go.

Saying something like that about the quake/tsunami - or any kind of natural disaster nobody can control (which I'm guessing must be his attitude toward any that happen, worldwide) is flat out hateful.

I agree with everything you said, Lauryn, and I'm right along with you in that one. Having tried everything out there. It doesn't make the depression just "poof!" go away, no matter what these quacks what to try to feed us. Really makes me angry that people buy into such an ignorant and divisive way of thinking. Just more one-upmanship, used to harm and cause even more stress in an already stressed out of control world.

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I completely agree with Hotaru.

First, I do not have negative thinking [except when severely depressed]. I am often in peace and content with my thoughts. It is OTHER people that see them as negative and tell me they are negative. My conclusion is not to share my thoughts with them.

Second I think most people are really scared they are not the ones that control their lives and happiness and that is why they believe this. It empowers them and helps them to feel in control. They are probably terrified (or just don't understand) that things can change over night, so just don't allow such thoughts in their heads.

Third, I actually think positive thinking works ..... for the happy people. But it CANNOT cure depression and that is what those people miss to see. It is part of the stigma and misunderstanding of depression.

Fourth, for many years I've tried that positive crap and that led me to be ... more depressed. Yes, because it did not work for me and I wanted to believe it I got into the self-blame, chastise myself for all errors type of thinking that comes with the depression.

Fifth, I think people get things to extremes, people that need to be taking medication.

Sixth - "go negative thinking", lets ruin the day of some positive thinkers :poster_oops:

Ok, I now the last two are not real points, but had to be said. Please forgive me. :verysad3:

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Wow never looked at my emotions that way. However anger does give me strength. But if we do reject negative thoughts we wont stay in that negative thought>emotion>action> process which = to depression in a lot of us whose bodies don't react to stress well.

The thing is that I think a lot of us TRY to be positive. None of us want to be stuck in a pattern of negative thinking, because it definitely can be harmful physically, but what we don't need is people around us telling us that the slightest negative, or even, realistic (as in, not bouncing off walls giddy with a fantastic outcome believed in for every decision we make) thought about a situation is going to result in our doom. It just becomes so annoying to deal with people like that. They just won't accept that your feelings might be different than how they think they ought to be, and they absolutely refuse to accept that you have an illness that can make it impossible to get into a better frame of mind...which can only make us feel worse, you know?

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I believe the way we think certainly has an impact on our feelings. However, this rule might apply differently for people with depression.

When I'm very depressed or my medications are no longer so effective I can't snap out of the low mood by trying to get excited about something or by reading any positive inspirational stories...etc. and the harder I try to replace the negative thoughts by positive thoughts the worse I feel. but when my depression is lifting and I'm able to think somewhat positively self help books and positive thoughts help boost my mood.

People who think positive thinking can cure depression have clearly never suffered from depression. Just the way negativity can't CAUSE depression, my parents complain 24/7 about everything and expect the worst in everything and everyone but they have never been depressed, I on the other hand study psychology always reading and learning have been to therapy trying to be positive and none of this can help me if my medications stop working.

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There's a really good RSA animate (on YouTube) called "Smile or You Die" with Barbara Ehrenreich. That's where I heard about the quote from the author of _The Secret_.

Ehrenreich also has a book on the subject (which she wrote after having breast cancer, after having people tell her that her thinking was related to her disease) called _Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America_.

Having said that, she does say that she believes in thinking positively but it has become a cultural obsession and an industry. A cult of positivity, so to speak

Lauryn, THANK YOU for this link!! The video is fantastic! I was hoping the day would come where this kind of stuff would be called for what it is - a way to stifle and control us through shame for not being positive as we march ourselves off cliffs! I am definitely sharing this! I really appreciate you sharing it with me and everyone else who's happened to read this topic! :)

I will be looking into Ehrenreich for sure, but I'm a little nervous about Tolle, since I've got a really hostile, abusive half-sister who's uses that kind of stuff to hurt people, and he's one of her favorite guys. That's not to say that what he has to say is bad at all, I just need to take some time to work myself up to it, first. :)

Thanks again so much! I'm really glad I posted this rant, because it's gotten a lot of great, insightful comments that have really cheered me up!

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I believe the way we think certainly has an impact on our feelings. However, this rule might apply differently for people with depression.

It certainly is different in my case. I can see how my thinking and my reactions to life events change with my depression. Not the opposite.

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Oh gosh, I can't stand when other people who have never been depressed tell me how to "get over it." One of my friends told me I need to "choose happiness." I seriously wanted to rip his head off. Choose happiness? Derp! I've never thought of that! Thank goodness for your Facebook comment reminding me to do so! I responded to him respectfully, insinuating that he didn't have the capacity to relate to what the last 1.5 years have done to me. But I was polite. I thought he'd let it go. No - he moved it over to texts a couple of days later. I reminded him of my situation (my best friend died) and he still thought he could apply what he *thinks* he would do in my situation. I literally had to ask him to accept that he didn't know anything about it and that he was minimizing my feelings. He finally dropped it. I don't ever want to speak to him again, though.

And you know what else? He's right. You do have to choose happiness, but that choice is often so intertwined with other things that it's impossible to see how to get to it. For me, choosing happiness meant that I had accepted that my best friend is never coming back. Any feeling outside of anger and sadness has been a betrayal in my view. But try expressing that to someone who's never lost anyone who ever contributed to their happiness, though. They don't get it. I have very little energy to educate them, but I do try. Long story short - I feel you.

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Big hugs to everyone :)

I think the intuition behind those insensitive remarks are not that negative thoughts directly leads to negative outcomes, but that those negative thoughts lead to negative actions which may increase the likelihood of a negative outcome. Like if your always thinking ill never get a job, and then that thought causes you to stop applying for jobs the likelihood of you not finding a job increases.

I do agree however that these type of remarks are in general just wrong, said by people who don't really understand.

Edited by idkusername465
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Probably the words of someone who has never (yet) even had a major setback in their lives.

It's a good thing you added the "probably". Will you only be able to relate to those who choose to cling on their past?

S*** has happened to me, lots of it, my earlier life was hell, but it's behind me now - does that mean I don't care?

I know that people are different and using the phrase "choose to hold on to their past" might sound very ignorant, but how else would you describe it? It eventually boils down to choice - whether they accept that which has happened to them and realize that some things are bigger than them or they live in the land of make believe and "fake it" every day.

.. and what is a wrong thing to say or what is the right thing to say? Notice how I said THE right thing to say? It's becoming a norm to just say "hey I feel for you" opposed to really speaking one's mind.

If someone gets irritated by how people say stupid S*** like "get over it", how is it offensive that the others react repulsively in response? Hypocrisy in its finest: the one person lets others know how not to act while acting exactly like that. We have to be understanding, though, the one person should be given some latitude. Really? How much do they need?

There are no couldashouldawouldas - what if this never happened, what if instead of that happening it didn't go down like that, what if, what if, what if - it's just an endless cycle and one never gets enough - everything has to be perfect and while living like that the energy left for the actual world out there is negligible and all hell breaks loose.

How do I know? That was, roughly, 12 years of my life in a nutshell - unfortunately I'm too slow in the head if it took me 12 years to understand it didn't have to be this way, BUT regret is now pointless, what happened in the past, stays in the past.

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Although negative thinking doesnt produce a negative outcome, it also doesnt produce a positive outcome. In fact the thinking itself has zero relationship to the outcome at all(to the extent that it is overly biased towards positivity or negativity). That is why the advice to think more positive is in fact very useul. becasue negative/positive thinking are do in fact influence the mood you will be in.

put another way: Since positive/negative thinking cannot, by itself, change the outcome of any situation, you might as well think positively, as it mighr improve your mood

Edited by sc2
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Oh gosh, I can't stand when other people who have never been depressed tell me how to "get over it." One of my friends told me I need to "choose happiness." I seriously wanted to rip his head off. Choose happiness? Derp! I've never thought of that! Thank goodness for your Facebook comment reminding me to do so! I responded to him respectfully, insinuating that he didn't have the capacity to relate to what the last 1.5 years have done to me. But I was polite. I thought he'd let it go. No - he moved it over to texts a couple of days later. I reminded him of my situation (my best friend died) and he still thought he could apply what he *thinks* he would do in my situation. I literally had to ask him to accept that he didn't know anything about it and that he was minimizing my feelings. He finally dropped it. I don't ever want to speak to him again, though.

And you know what else? He's right. You do have to choose happiness, but that choice is often so intertwined with other things that it's impossible to see how to get to it. For me, choosing happiness meant that I had accepted that my best friend is never coming back. Any feeling outside of anger and sadness has been a betrayal in my view. But try expressing that to someone who's never lost anyone who ever contributed to their happiness, though. They don't get it. I have very little energy to educate them, but I do try. Long story short - I feel you.

I feel for you. I know how that feels. he probably was really thinking he is helping, not realizing that he is doing exactly the opposite. I think the best way in such case is to present the person with quotes and articles. It is a strange thing but I've noticed it is very true with most people. Most people will believe something random on the TV, even an advertising, but they will NOT believe what a friend is telling them. If you are trying to convince them they will just feel they are right, that you are just negative and so on. So maybe send that person an educational article or video. The RSA one mentioned in post #8 is a very good one. I saw the long version of it [30min], but there is a 10 min version as well.

She said exactly what I think. Saying to someone to be happy is cruel and is a way to disregard people with problems just because we don't want to see them. It is also delusional and leads to more problems. You should see some of the reviews for "the Secret". - One said: "I am in full control of my life". :mad1: . Tell me that is not delusional.

Also I just want to say I'm sorry you lost your friend. I hope you are getting all the support you need.

Absent

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put another way: Since positive/negative thinking cannot, by itself, change the outcome of any situation, you might as well think positively, as it mighr improve your mood

it's not that simple, sometimes we just CAN'T think positively. and in order for thoughts to have influence on mood they have to be somewhat real or based on something you've experienced before. For instance

let's say my antidepressants stop working so I have to go through the whole process of trying new meds again and see whether they work or not which always takes several months. How can I think positively and get all hopeful and convince my brain that "it's gonna be easy and it won't take long" when I know It has always taken me forever to get the right meds. Sure I can think positively and fake it as much as I want but it won't make me any less depressed when deep inside I know these thoughts/expectations are barely realistic.

Also, Since depression is caused by hormonal imbalance, this imbalance certainly affects the way we think and process thoughts. which explains why we gain some control over our thoughts when the meds correct this imbalance and how we lose this ability to control them when the meds stop working. so maybe the way we think is simply the outcome of the way our brains function and we aren't really as in control as we think we are of our thinking processes.

Sorry if i'm not making any sense :poster_oops::glare:

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Oh gosh, I can't stand when other people who have never been depressed tell me how to "get over it." One of my friends told me I need to "choose happiness." I seriously wanted to rip his head off. Choose happiness? Derp! I've never thought of that! Thank goodness for your Facebook comment reminding me to do so! I responded to him respectfully, insinuating that he didn't have the capacity to relate to what the last 1.5 years have done to me. But I was polite. I thought he'd let it go. No - he moved it over to texts a couple of days later. I reminded him of my situation (my best friend died) and he still thought he could apply what he *thinks* he would do in my situation. I literally had to ask him to accept that he didn't know anything about it and that he was minimizing my feelings. He finally dropped it. I don't ever want to speak to him again, though.

And you know what else? He's right. You do have to choose happiness, but that choice is often so intertwined with other things that it's impossible to see how to get to it. For me, choosing happiness meant that I had accepted that my best friend is never coming back. Any feeling outside of anger and sadness has been a betrayal in my view. But try expressing that to someone who's never lost anyone who ever contributed to their happiness, though. They don't get it. I have very little energy to educate them, but I do try. Long story short - I feel you.

I feel for you. I know how that feels. he probably was really thinking he is helping, not realizing that he is doing exactly the opposite. I think the best way in such case is to present the person with quotes and articles. It is a strange thing but I've noticed it is very true with most people. Most people will believe something random on the TV, even an advertising, but they will NOT believe what a friend is telling them. If you are trying to convince them they will just feel they are right, that you are just negative and so on. So maybe send that person an educational article or video. The RSA one mentioned in post #8 is a very good one. I saw the long version of it [30min], but there is a 10 min version as well.

She said exactly what I think. Saying to someone to be happy is cruel and is a way to disregard people with problems just because we don't want to see them. It is also delusional and leads to more problems. You should see some of the reviews for "the Secret". - One said: "I am in full control of my life". :mad1: . Tell me that is not delusional.

Also I just want to say I'm sorry you lost your friend. I hope you are getting all the support you need.

Absent

Yeah, I knew he thought he was being helpful. I even told him in those texts, "I know you want to help right now but..." and he said ok and changed the subject. There really are no "right" words to say to anyone. I do realize that, so I don't flip-out on them. But, like all of us, I have to get it out of my system (like this post) - talking about why it bugged me with people who are aware of the complexities of grief and subsequent depression.

Thank you :)

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put another way: Since positive/negative thinking cannot, by itself, change the outcome of any situation, you might as well think positively, as it mighr improve your mood

it's not that simple, sometimes we just CAN'T think positively. and in order for thoughts to have influence on mood they have to be somewhat real or based on something you've experienced before. For instance

let's say my antidepressants stop working so I have to go through the whole process of trying new meds again and see whether they work or not which always takes several months. How can I think positively and get all hopeful and convince my brain that "it's gonna be easy and it won't take long" when I know It has always taken me forever to get the right meds. Sure I can think positively and fake it as much as I want but it won't make me any less depressed when deep inside I know these thoughts/expectations are barely realistic.

Also, Since depression is caused by hormonal imbalance, this imbalance certainly affects the way we think and process thoughts. which explains why we gain some control over our thoughts when the meds correct this imbalance and how we lose this ability to control them when the meds stop working. so maybe the way we think is simply the outcome of the way our brains function and we aren't really as in control as we think we are of our thinking processes.

Sorry if i'm not making any sense :poster_oops::glare:

\

Well there currently isnt any scientific evidence for hormonal/neurotransmitter imbalance in depression and the idea tha Ad medication corrects any kind of imbalanced has been soundly refuted.the truth is no one really knows what causes depression. the more modern theories focus on genetic polymorphisms of the serotonin transporter gene

(two short alleles) conferring a weakness to depression that can .bring on depressive symptoms upon experiencing signicisnt life stress. If that is true, managing stress levels (amongst other things by thinking positively) is likely the key to recovery.

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