The top 20 most negative thoughts in Britain revealed

Some of the most common negative thoughts adults have on a daily basis include ‘I’m not good enough,’ ‘I’m overweight,’ and ‘I’m not good looking’.

A poll of 2,000 adults showed that 37% of them feel like they are their worst enemy.

However, 34% feel they are failing themselves and 32% worry about disappointing others.

34% also feel their thoughts have prevented them from achieving certain goals such as finding new employment (40%), expressing their true emotions (38%), or achieving their personal health goals (35%).

However, people can keep a busy life and practice mindfulness to help them stay on track and fight negative thoughts.

Andreas Michaelides, Ph.D., chief of psychology at Noom, the psychology-backed behaviour change programme which commissioned the research, said: “Negative or intrusive thoughts, otherwise known as thought distortions, will be experienced by most of the population at some point in their lives.

“They are usually biased, exaggerated and inaccurate, and they can cause us to reach conclusions about ourselves that are not based in reality.

“The good news, however, is that it is possible to combat them.

“Learning to recognise thought distortions is the first step to unpacking their content and reframing your approach.”

Overcoming negative emotions

Some of the most popular positive affirmations that help people combat thought distortions include ‘I am grateful for everything I have in my life,’ ‘I can do this,’ and ‘I am making progress.’

Other goals that are often overlooked due to negative thinking are improving fitness (29%) and traveling (30%) and making the leap into self-employment (24%)

Only 12 per cent of people confronted with negative thoughts believe they are true all the while 66% believe they are true only occasionally.

Recent events, such as the pandemic and unstable political climate, have caused 32 percent to experience more negative thoughts that normal.

These can leave them feeling depressed (34%), unmotivated (34%), and frustrated (33%).

However, 43 per cent have attempted to stop or correct negative thought patterns when they arise by changing their lifestyle or speaking with family and friends about how they’re feeling.

Positive thinking leads to positive outcomes

OnePoll’s study found that 58% of respondents believed that positive thinking would help them reach their personal goals.

56 percent of respondents believe that maintaining a healthy body and living a healthy life style can help increase positive thoughts.

With 2023 on the horizon, exercising more often (28 per cent), eating healthily (28 per cent) and maintaining a positive mindset (23 per cent) are the most common new year’s resolutions for Brits.

Andreas Michaelides added: “We all have the occasional crisis of confidence, especially after facing setbacks or a stressful day.

“However, it’s important not to have an all-or-nothing reaction.

“Psychology has shown that we are much more likely to achieve our goals if we think positively, and it’s encouraging to see that almost two thirds of Brits recognise this.

“Psychological techniques as seen in Noom’s inaugural book, The Noom Mindset: Learn the Science, Lose the Weight, can help you combat negative thoughts to help you reach your goals.”

Top 20 Negative Thoughts

  1. I don’t have enough money
  2. I’m overweight
  3. I am not good looking
  4. I wish I’d never done that
  5. I’m not good enough
  6. I’ll never lose the weight I want to
  7. I’m not interested
  8. Too much time I spend staring at my phone
  9. I’m too old to try new things
  10. I can’t do this (task, job, workout, etc.)
  11. I’m not muscly/toned in enough
  12. I’m not smart enough
  13. Nobody cares what I’m going through
  14. I’m terrible at exercising / I’ll never get fit
  15. I don’t know where I’m going.
  16. I can’t do it as well as them
  17. Nothing good ever happens in my life
  18. Others have it so much worse than me
  19. I’m lazy / useless
  20. I’m a failure

Top 10 affirmations

  1. I am grateful to all that I have in my daily life
  2. This is possible
  3. I am capable
  4. I am confident
  5. I am strong
  6. I am taking care myself
  7. I tried my hardest
  8. I am intelligent
  9. I am making progress
  10. I deserve it

Andreas Michaelides’ tips on how to overcome negative thoughts

  1. Get it back

Take a moment to reflect on the chain of events that lead to a negative thought that you recognize. Is it possible to identify the trigger?

Examining this sequence of events can reveal patterns of behaviour that you may have missed.

Once you’ve identified these triggers, you can begin to work on developing a new response that won’t lead to negative thoughts.

  1. Separate Feelings From Facts

Remember that thoughts do not necessarily reflect facts. It’s important we learn to separate our thoughts and feelings from facts and ask ourselves, is this true?

For example: you may say to yourself “I’m too stressed to exercise today.” If you spend some time examining your thoughts you may come to realise that you don’t want to exercise that day (which is OK!) You may recognize that you are feeling stressed. Exercise is a proven stress reliever.

If you recognise that your thought isn’t a fact, you suddenly have more clarity on what you want to do.

  1. Reframe Your Thoughts

Reframing your thought is the act of changing the context in which a thought is viewed so it can be viewed differently.

This works by helping you recognise common unhelpful thoughts (‘“I haven’t exercised today, I’m useless’”) and replace them with new ideas (‘I haven’t exercised today; it’s been a tough day and that’s OK.’).

Evaluating your thoughts and ideas like this can be challenging, and at times uncomfortable, but it’s an important part of establishing positive thought patterns.

  1. Sometimes, it is what it is

Radical acceptance is accepting your reality as it is. You must stop listening to your inner critic and let your emotions dictate your decisions.

Radically accepting your current situation and how you feel about it doesn’t mean you can’t change, grow, evolve, or even reframe your feelings in the future. It is simply that you can accept the current situation.

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