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Negativity & Grumbling

Negativity in terms of mindset is the tendency to view things from a problematic, downside or hopeless position. Grumbling is the act of verbalizing the negativity and can manifest as complaining. Research indicates brains have a tendency to view the world in mostly positive or mostly negative terms. Anxiety, environmental influences and adult models can play a role in the development of a person's world view. When negativity and grumbling are tempered by the ability to problem-solve and shift focus, the impairment is lower. But without these skills, negativity and grumbling often result in a soured mood, feelings of disempowerment and dependency.

How can Therapy be helpful?

  • psychoeducation on the brain including the tendency to either think positively or negatively by nature

  • cognitive strategies to help flip the brain's natural tendency and develop the ability to think with more positivity

  • expanding awareness of the labels we place on life events from positive and negative to positive, negative and neutral

  • identifying and acting on your values especially when they are incongruent with negativity and grumbling

  • recognition of the influence of anxiety on the maintenance of a negative world view

  • disconnecting thinking and acting such that it becomes more possible to notice a thought but act in a different way (i.e., thinking the weather is gloomy and awful but slipping on your rain boots and going for a walk anyway)

Tips for Reducing Negativity & Grumbling

  • listen and validate true concerns as well as feelings

  • support people can ask what's needed: a listener or a problem-solver

  • teach, model and prompt problem-solving

  • exposure to stories that show characters being okay in the presence of life's frustrations

  • encouragement to find any upsides to the frustrating situation without using these as a replacement for the downsides; they can coexist

  • teach children how to talk to themselves with helpful self-talk when working through problems

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