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Stinking Thinking: 10 Types You Need to be Aware of

Stinking Thinking: 10 Types You Need to be Aware of

Updated on May 27, 2022

Reviewed by Dr. Nereida Gonzalez-Berrios, MD , Certified Psychiatrist

10 Types of Stinking Thinking Explore Simple Steps To Overcome It

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The mind is more than just an organ in the body because it holds the power to drive you. Whatever you think, ends up becoming your belief. This is true even when you have negative thoughts.

So, better be careful about what you think. Unfortunately, stinking thinking techniques can be used against you and if you are not aware, the damage can be disastrous.

Stinking Thinking Infographic

Stinking Thinking -10 Types You Need to be Aware of
Stinking Thinking -10 Types You Need to be Aware of

What is stinking thinking?

You end up becoming a victim of stinking thinking if most of your thoughts are guided by negative emotions. Slowly and silently, they impact your behavior in a big way.

Very simply, it is a method of using actions or words to negatively influence a person’s thought processes. Silently, negative emotions will start influencing your actions and behavior. One of the most prominent symptoms will be an unexpected bias in your expectations.

We get a lot of thoughts on a daily basis. Interestingly, most of them are negative but we don’t daily check. These negative thoughts creep in from nowhere and tend to make a house in our minds.

Unfortunately, when this state sets in, it becomes like a vicious cycle of uncomfortable thoughts that in general lead to anger and discontent. This is known as stinking thinking. The sheer number of these thoughts can be overwhelming.

Who Can Use Stinking Thinking Techniques and How?

The answer to this question is surprising. Stinking thinking can be used by anyone – your colleagues at work, your family at home, or even your friends. Now you may wonder how does it happen. Well, the effect of negative emotions is slow but lethal.

Moving on, let us understand what happens when you start succumbing to the after-effects of stinking thinking. Simply put, when you become a victim, your thoughts develop an unhealthy attitude.

You begin evaluating every action of yours to identify mistakes and start blaming yourself for things going wrong.

This may start with something as simple as looking into the mirror and complaining that you are too fat and ugly to wear that stylish dress. But when it overpowers your senses, the negativity is free-flowing in all your thoughts as well as actions.

Interestingly, many of us often ignore the early symptoms simply because we are not aware of them. Every day, the mind has several conversations with our conscious. These are internal conversations and you hardly take and impact your external behavior in a big way.

10 Types of Stinking Thinking

Just like addiction treatment, is all about the ability of the mind to let go of the negativity and harness the positive thoughts. But before we learn to do that, it is important to learn to identify these types of thoughts and nip the problem in the bud.

In the section that follows, we will introduce you to the type of thoughts that hint at being a victim of the stinking thinking:

1. You either win or lose it all

Victims will find it difficult to accept failure, even though it is partial

For those who are suffering from negativity in their thoughts, a project or task is simply success or failure. There is no middle way to choose.

Even the smallest issue is enough for them to label the entire project as a failure. Simply put, they can only classify things as black or white.

If you come across such people, try to motivate them by highlighting the positive aspects of the project. You may not change their thought process entirely, but it will help put a stop to the outburst of negativity within them.

2. A negative label is all they want

Those suffering from stinking thinking often love to dwell on a single negative thought for hours.

One rejection does not mean that you will be rejected all your life. This is what many of us believe except for those who are suffering from negative thoughts. Their thought process dwells excessively on negative emotions.

As a result, they end up labeling themselves as failures who are good for nothing. But that is never true! Everyone has a purpose to fulfill. You may just need to wait a little longer!

If you are witnessing such issues or are worried about the unhealthy attitude of your thoughts, it is best advised that you seek guidance from a psychiatrist.

3. Positive does not count

Sufferers refuse to see the positive outcomes of the scenario because their thought process is clouded by negative emotions.

When you start discounting the positive experiences, you leave the door open for all the joy to simply fizzle out.

Everyone goes through a rough patch when things don’t end up the way you want them to. But that is no reason to pat your back when you do good things or achieve a goal. For instance, you worked very hard for promotion by completing projects before time.

Your boss even appreciated your efforts but ended up promoting your colleague. This does not mean that you should forget the appreciation that you earned and belittle the work that you did.

Celebrate the little joys in life to keep up the positive attitude. It is one of the most effective ways to keep a solid check on the negative thought processes.

4. Playing the blame game

Those suffering from stinking thinking love to blame themselves for everything that goes wrong around them.

Not everything and everyone can be under your control. It is important to accept this simple fact. Because only when you do, will you realize that you can not blame yourself for everything that goes wrong.

For instance, if your relationship is not working, it does not mean that everything is your fault. What you need to do is talk to your partner and sort out the differences!

The problem usually increases because most people are hesitant to talk. Another variant of victims that you are likely to come across in this category are the ones who like to blame others for their situations.

For instance, if you don’t have that coveted white-collared job, it could be because you chose to skip University education before joining the workforce.

5. Emotional reasoning takes priority

The lack of positive experiences by insisting on negative emotions often leads to people believing that they are headed for the worst.

No matter how much people try to motivate you, if you are a victim of stinking thinking, the negative thought patterns will make you look at the downside of the situation. The negative emotions end up driving the way you view your situation.

For example, if a salesman became terribly upset because a customer gave him negative feedback, it may deter him from selling anything.

While playing the piano a gifted pianist receives some criticism from his audience. Now, if this pianist obsesses over this feedback, it will affect his ability to play.

6. The weird negative filter

People suffering from stinking thinking apply a weird mental filter that highlights all the negative thoughts.

Most of us filter the negative thoughts to stop them from making a place in our minds. But those who are victims of stinking thinking use this filter for discounting the positive.

This type of mental filtering is often known to lead to guilt. Such people find it difficult to battle the misconception that negative emotions necessarily reflect our actions.

7. Obsessed with responsibility

Victims of stinking thinking want to take responsibility for everything, even for situations that are not in their control.

Personalization is a trait that bothers victims of stinking thinking very often. They blame themselves for the negative outcomes in every situation.

Of course, we all need to be accountable for our actions. But the stinking thinkers are obsessed with taking responsibility even for situations where they have literally no control over a lot of factors.

8. Believe only in what ifs

Victims of stinking thinking just talk about the possibilities that could have been.

These people often talk of things like they should have been. They have a tough time accepting things the way they should be. This only adds to the feeling of guilt and further fuels the negative thoughts in the mind.

9. Jumping to conclusions

The stinking thinking types love to jump the queue and draw an inference in most matters.

The negative thoughts, anger, anxiety, frustration, and a lot of other things often blind the mind of those suffering from stinking thinking. These victims are known to jump to conclusions without evaluating the facts or checking the stories.

10. Larger than life

Things go wrong and it is perfectly normal to fail. The problem starts when you magnify the failure to overlook everything else.

So you made a romantic proposal to your partner and were rejected. Don’t worry, it is normal. What is abnormal is when you start magnifying the rejection and dwell on the negative details.

For instance, in the above case, if you jump to the conclusion that you are likely to be rejected every time you make a romantic proposal.

This would mean you are being unfair to yourself. Gradually, this will diminish your confidence to take proactive efforts. You may not realize it, but this is exactly the kind of behavior that leads to negative emotions overpowering your ability to enjoy life.

How to overcome stinking thinking?

We cannot control the number of negative thoughts that cross our minds on a day-to-day basis. What we can do is engage these thoughts with logical reasoning.

This may sound complicated however once you are habituated, it is actually very easy and effective.

Since you can’t stop the thoughts, engaging them helps you become aware and change your thinking. Our focus should be to stop the thoughts from working against us. 

Remember your thoughts are like energy that can only be transformed. Stinking thinking is all about negative thoughts, in order to get rid of it, you just need to convert them to positive thoughts. 

Here are some simple steps to follow to avoid stinking thinking:

  1. First things first, you need to acknowledge the presence of such thoughts. Locking them away in a far corner of the mind, is of no use. 
  2. You need to stop judging the thoughts that cross your mind. Good or bad, don’t decide until you have engaged each one of them. 
  3. Start evaluating each thought. Ask yourself where it comes from and what it is doing in your head. A lot of the stinking thinking ends at this stage. The mind often flushes the thoughts that do not have a valid origin or purpose. 
  4. The thoughts that still remain in your head need to be evaluated further. Check if these thoughts can have a positive impact on your life. Can they help you improve your existing situation? If the answer to this question is yes, it’s time to implement these thoughts.
  5. If the answer to the above question is no, you need to think how to change your thoughts in order to use them to bring about a positive change in your life. 

Stinking thinking addiction

Being addicted to stinking thinking or negative thoughts is dangerous. From blaming yourself for everything to being burdened with guilt for every action.

One of the most obvious symptoms of this condition is the overpowering negative thoughts in the mind. Those addicted to this are likely to fall in one of the categories mentioned below:

The perfection seeker

This category of addicts emphasizes perfection so much so that they are not able to meet their own expectations. 

The forever guilty

These people find it difficult to let go of the past. This way the guilt sticks around for longer. 

Always undermine

Addicts in this category are low on self-confidence. The constant self-doubt makes it difficult for them to have faith in their abilities to achieve. 

The destructive mindset

This category of stinking thinkers always believe that they are worthless. They can only look at the flaws. They may also suffer from substance abuse. 

The judgmental kind

In this category, the addicts constantly judge their actions and the actions of those around them. The standards are often so high that most people end up considering themselves as complete failures

The controller

This category of addicts insists on being in complete control of every factor that makes a situation. If they lose control, it makes them uncomfortable.

Stinking thinking examples 

In order to better understand the concept of stinking thinking, here is a look at some examples. 

  1. Thinking that you are ugly and will remain like that forever. 
  2. If you have failed to implement a task given to you in office, you blame yourself for the failure. You are so obsessed with your failure that you lose the motivation to pursue the project till its completion. Unfortunately, there are no positive motivating talks to keep you going.
  3. You spend hours looking at the flaws in your personality. In fact, you talk about them with the sole focus of magnifying the issues instead of working on your strengths. For such victims, almost everything falls short of perfect.
  4. Someone compliments you for your dress. Instead of ending the conversation with a simple thank you, you overanalyze the complement. Your mind starts working in the opposite direction wondering if something is wrong with your clothes, was it a complement or a sarcastic comment. 
  5. Say you are on a diet but someone offers you a pastry. You are tempted and eat a spoonful. But ever since you feel angry that you have messed up your entire diet. 

On a parting note

The bad way of thinking is an unhealthy habit. It will make you believe that you are not a good person and that nobody loves you.

But it is important to understand, these are irrational thoughts. If you start spending time on such negative thoughts, it is a sign that you are falling prey to stinking thinking.

The only way to tackle this problem is to identify the symptoms, seek psychiatric help and keep nudging your mind to dwell on the positive thoughts in every situation. So, keep your eyes open and don’t hesitate to seek help when you need it!

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