Why you Struggle to Keep a Positive Mindset - The effects of negativity and how to recognize your own limiting beliefs

Why You Struggle to Keep a Positive Mindset

A positive mindset is key to making changes in your life. It’s easy to be positive when things are good. If you’re struggling with executive functions, you might also struggle to keep a positive mindset. You are probably working on building and maintaining routines. Creating new habits is difficult, especially if you stumble. Mistakes happen, but they can make you feel like a total failure. That feeling hampers your ability to keep a positive mindset.

Here are some reasons you might be struggling with mindset and strategies to help maintain positivity.

Why you Struggle to Keep a Positive Mindset - The effects of negativity and how to recognize your own limiting beliefs

You need to dig deep

Mindset is about more than changing your conscious thoughts. Active thoughts come from your conscious mind, but mindset work really happens in your subconscious. This part of your mind holds your memories, experiences, and deep beliefs. In order to shift your mindset, this is where the work happens.

I’ve suggested using journaling, meditation, and affirmations as ways to change your subconscious as you work on your mindset. These methods take you deep and help you change your limiting beliefs about yourself.

If you’ve tried using a planner before and have always abandoned it, but now, after reading one of my posts, you say, “I’m gonna make it work this time,” that’s a start. But if that little voice in the back of your mind keeps telling you it’s dumb to try because it’s never gonna work…it won’t

You need to change that little voice and its attitude.

It starts with putting in the effort to think more positively, but then you need to implement some other techniques to dig deep and make that insulting voice shut the fuck up.

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You can’t ignore your limiting beliefs

We don’t often think about the limiting beliefs we have about ourselves, but those beliefs are what keep the negative thoughts coming back. Those beliefs are why it’s a struggle to keep a positive mindset. Our limiting beliefs usually start when we’re young and unaware. You begin to believe them about yourself and they follow you as you grow up.

An example of this is often seen in girls with ADHD. When they’re young, they’re told they talk too much, they show too many emotions, they’re “too much.” Many of them do everything they can to be quiet, and they people please to make others like them. And it follows them all the way to adulthood. It becomes so much of who they are, that they don’t realize they do it or the effects it has on them.

All of you who were diagnosed as adults and had that sudden ah-ha moment? This is why you need to dig deep to change those thoughts.

You need to think about the things you believe you aren’t good at or that you can’t do. What have other people told you isn’t your thing? Maybe there are things you’ve avoided because you knew you would fail.

Here are some statements that might help you recognize your own limiting beliefs:

  1. It’s hopeless: Using extreme words like never or always is a sign of limiting beliefs. If you think, “I can never be on time because I suck at time management,” you’re setting yourself up for failure because you are limiting your belief in yourself.
  2. I’m helpless: When life sucks, it’s easier to blame your circumstances than to act to change them. If you think, “I’d love to be my own boss, but I don’t know how to run a business,” that’s limiting because you can learn. But you have to want to, and you have to believe you can.
  3. It’s useless: The idea that no matter what you do, it won’t matter implies that you can’t make a difference. But you can. It might not happen as quickly or in the manner you’d like, but your actions to matter.
  4. The universe is out to get me: This implies that everything is out of your control. Outside forces keep you from succeeding or getting what you want. You can’t control everything, but you can control your reaction to it. The economy sucks. What are you going to do about it? Maybe do a little side hustle to stock up a nest egg. You have the power to make changes that will impact you.
  5. I’m worthless: Everyone has feelings or thoughts at some point about not being smart enough, or pretty enough, or strong enough, but if these are persistent thoughts, they are holding you back. If you believe you don’t deserve something, you won’t even try to get it. Instead of assuming you shouldn’t get something, ask yourself why not?
  6. It’s genetic: Yes, some things really are in your genes. Being poor? Nope. Being uneducated? Nope. Blue eyes? Yep. We treat the way we were raised as genetic, as if it’s not something that we can escape (like having blue eyes), but in reality, often it’s circumstances that we’re used to and change is scary.
  7. I’ll fail: Fear of failure is real for many of us (yep, me too). If you also struggle with perfectionism, this fear is even bigger. Doing something but not doing it well enough is tantamount to failure. If you fail, you’ll feel stupid, which will lead to more negativity. However, failure is a part of learning.
  8. I’m different: Different is cool. There. I said it. All of my neurodivergent people, stand up and try to embrace your weird. Being different isn’t a bad thing. We’re taught when we are young that it’s terrible. You just want to be like everyone else. But as adults, you should question that. Why do you want to be like everyone else? Different people bring fresh, new ideas. Different people allow us to explore the world. Not everyone will like you. So what? Find the ones who think you’re fascinating and fun.

Before you can change the limiting beliefs, you need to know what they are. When we talk about having a growth mindset, it’s all about believing that you can do and achieve pretty much anything you want.

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Negativity is Pulling You Down

When stress and negative thoughts hit you, you will have a hard time finding things to be happy about. Negativity is a huge reason why you might struggle to keep a positive mindset. If you are overwhelmed by things in your life, it might be time to look at stress management.

What stresses you out? Maybe it’s people in your life making you anxious, or it could be your job, coworkers, or home life. First, try to figure out the causes of your stress. Then you can find ways to manage it.

Managing your stress is key to keeping a positive mindset. It’s hard to hold onto positivity when stress and negative thoughts overwhelm you.

3 fish with I'm not written on them and 1 fish with I am, surrounded by traits like valuable, worthy, secure, safe, welcome

You need more practice

Like everything else I talk about when it comes to executive functions, shifting your mindset is a process. It’s not a quick journey from point A to point B—it’s more like a tangled squiggly line. There is no end date or right way to accomplish it. It just takes practice. Over and over.

You can’t just wake up one day and say, “I’m going to be positive” and that’s it. It takes practice and habits that transform your mindset. What habits you choose and the strategies you employ should be ones that you can connect to personally. If you hate writing, journaling is not a tool for you. If being alone triggers your anxiety, meditation might not be the way to go.

Find the activities that work for you and use them to build your habits. Habits take time. You need to build a daily routine for your tools and use them. The more you use them predictably, then they will turn into habits.

Using tools and strategies like these will help you so that you won't continue to struggle to keep a positive mindset. You might not be happy all the time, but you will be able to bounce back from problems easier.

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