I’m getting stuck in my positive psychology diploma course and, in particular, exploring Barbara Fredickson’s (2011) broaden-and-build theory of positivity. However, today I want to talk to you about negativity because, as you know, when it grips it can pull us into a downward spiral. The further down we go into the abyss of negativity, the harder it is to come out and can be a reason which leads us to burning out completely. So what can we do about it?

Firstly, let’s just put positivity into perspective and make it clear that positivity isn’t about finding ways to eliminate negativity entirely. ‘Appropriate negativity’ is actually conducive to our growth, helps keep our feet firmly on the ground and keeps us real and honest. An example, is when we use anger (a negative emotion) to fight injustices, or when we are annoyed to speak up for ourselves, or when we get ‘bad news’ related to our health, taking steps to change the situation, mourning a loss. Even burnout (usually something that is deemed negative) leads to positive outcomes.

According to Fredickson (2011) it’s ‘gratuitous negativity’ we’ve got to look out for. The ‘what if…..’ scenarios that play over and over in our head, the discouraging self-talk, the 💩 we tell ourselves over and over again – these are a couple of examples of gratuitous negativity in action.

negative thoughts - dispute them

Thing is, the more we generate negative thoughts the more we feed into negative emotions, which feed the thoughts, which feed the emotions, which feed the thoughts…..get the picture, right?

Good news – there is a scientifically proven way to stop this downward spiral into the negativity abyss.

Dispute it! Disputing it means becoming aware of the negativity and to look at it from a factual, objective lens very much in the same way a lawyer does by asking questions about the situation at hand. What caused me to think (x)? What started it? Why do I think it? Do I know for certain this to be the absolute truth? (Like truly TRULY?)

What negative thoughts are you harbouring today? What effects are these having on your well-being, your work, your relationships, your view of Self, your life, your mood. Catch them soon as left undisputed can lead to your flame burning out. Keep shining by confronting negativity positively. Show who’s the boss – because you are!

It’s time to dispute it, don’t you think?

Burnout happens for a reason. My mission is to help you discover why. Check out my 1:1 and corporate programmes, Burnout to Brilliance today! download the free ‘Am I burning out?’ checklist and/or to book your free discovery call.


  1. Bonny

    Great post! Negative thoughts will always be there but we can really be the boss of them. Thank you.

  2. Dina

    Bonny, thanks so much for your feedback. I think, at times, we can get so caught up in trying to eradicate negative thoughts when sometimes, I think, it may be more constructive not to apply a ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ thought given that it’s the emotion we attach to it that makes it so. However, hope the tips I share by disputing them when they arise can help to become the boss of our thoughts. Thanks again!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *