5 Unhealthy Mindsets That Are Holding You Back From Happiness And Success

A planner open with a cover page. The cover page says “Be so good they can’t ignore you” in black cursive ink.

Photo by Andrijana Bozic on Unsplash

Do you find it hard to think positively and challenge negative thoughts? You are not the only one and this is a far more common problem than people think and affects many of us, but you can alter your mindset.

It can be a long journey to stop your negative thinking and have a more positive mindset, but well worth it. You can have experienced negative thinking due to stress and anxiety, worrying about your past or future when you are feeling low or having a bad day. Whatever the cause of the unhealthy mindset, it is something that you can change and overcome.

It is important that you recognise the types of automatic negative mindsets, you may not fall into the trap of them all, but there may be some that you can relate to.

Here are 5 unhealthy, negative mindsets that are holding you back from happiness and success:

1. Making Comparisons

With the huge development of social media in today’s society, it has become so much easier to compare ourselves to other people. Everyone shares pictures and stories which can sometimes leave us feeling jealous or discouraged.

When you start comparing yourself to other people, you can start having thoughts like ‘They are more attractive than me’, or ‘Look how successful they are; what do I have going for me?’ Having these thoughts can easily cause a low mood and develop into feeling depressed.

Something that is always worth remembering is that everyone shares their highlights, so do not compare your ‘behind the scenes’ with someone else’s ‘highlight reel’. Everyone has flaws, insecurities and no one’s life is perfect. Looking at yourself and speaking about yourself in a positive light will help you to focus on yourself rather than other people. When you are constantly comparing yourself to others, you waste precious energy focusing on other people’s lives rather than your own. Comparison behaviour can often result in resentment towards others and towards yourself. Comparisons deprive you of joy.

2. Jumping To Conclusions/Fortune Telling

Fortune telling is another type of automatic negative thinking where you jump to conclusions and predict the worst outcome that could happen. When you focus on situations that you may have in the future, you are more likely to presume that something awful is going to happen.

If you had a job interview, this type of negative thinking could cause thoughts like: ‘I am going to mess this up and not get this job.’ This is a fortune telling mindset; you are predicting the worst outcome and the event hasn’t even occurred yet.

A mindset like this can actually stop you from working towards your goals, take risks or even believing in yourself and your abilities. Jumping to conclusions can have a big effect on your self-esteem and you can find yourself doubting your own self-worth. The worries are only stealing your time and energy because there are so many possible outcomes.

3. Guilty Thinking

Guilty thinking is when you use words such as ‘should’, ‘if only’, or ‘must’ when talking about mistakes or things you may have done.

Even though you can’t change the past, we are all guilty of mulling over situations and we should have done or said. We are all guilty of this type of thinking when we reflect on mistakes we have made.

You may think ‘I should have tidied the house today’ and this could lead you to feel guilty and you may start putting yourself down. You need to change how you are thinking and try ‘I didn’t tidy the house today, but never mind, I can do it tomorrow.’ By changing your thinking you are acknowledging what happened in a positive way and you aren’t making yourself feel guilty for not doing it. With this type of mindset, you need to change the narrative.

A woman sat at a table in a stripy long sleeve top, holding a phone and looking like she is thinking.Photo by Kev Costello on Unsplash

4. Blaming Yourself

This is such a common type of unhealthy mindset, where you blame yourself for problems or mistakes that have happened. This can lead to thoughts like ‘you are a failure’ or ‘you have let your family down,’ which can bring down your mood and lower your self-esteem.

Has something little or big happened and you have blamed yourself for it? It can be difficult to look at things from a different perspective, but altering your thinking in a more positive way is crucial to good mental health. You shouldn’t easily accept fault for everything that happens. Everyone makes mistakes, but you do not need to dwell on them. Accept what has happened and learn from that experience.

Blaming others can also be an unhealthy mindset. Blaming yourself or others ultimately ends with negative emotional conditions. You could feel resentment, anger or annoyance at yourself or the person you blame.

5. ‘I Am Not Good Enough’

Have you ever thought that you weren’t good enough? You are not alone! However, when you are in that mindset, it causes self-doubt and you can drown in self-pity. This type of thinking and mindset can be a symptom of low self-esteem. The truth is that everyone is good enough.

The feeling of not being good enough or not worthy enough can develop into what is known as ‘imposter syndrome’. With this behaviour, you may question all your achievements, or even convince yourself that you are a fraud. When you encounter these feelings, you might end up working harder and holding yourself to even higher standards. This can be dangerous as it can cause you to be overwhelmed and lead to a burnout.

You can overcome the mindset of ‘I am not good enough’. Research has found that what you say to yourself can actually change the way you see yourself. Using positive affirmations is such a beneficial way to see yourself. You can also own your accomplishments without attributing them to luck, hard work or help from others.

Techniques To Help You Overcome Unhealthy Negative Thoughts:

Negative thinking is something that everyone will go through, but there are ways that you can challenge and overcome your unhealthy mindset. Here are 4 techniques you can use:


The act of meditation is a helpful way to refocus your mind and practise mindfulness which enables you to feel in the present. If you have 10 minutes, practising meditation when you are having negative thoughts, focusing on your breathing to help you calm down and move your attention away from your negative thoughts is highly beneficial.

A red haired woman sat on some decking meditatingPhoto by Patrick Malleret on Unsplash

Reframe Your Thoughts

When you recognise that the negative thoughts crop up, you can start the practice of reframing your thoughts. Ask yourself ‘Why am I having these thoughts?’, or maybe even look at it from a different perspective. Another technique could be to change the narrative. For example, you have a thought like ‘I am going to mess up my driving test because I am so nervous.’ Change this to ‘I know I am nervous, but I have had enough lessons and I am confident on the road, so I need to focus on that.’ This way of reframing your bad thoughts helps you to gain more perspective and clarity.

Surround Yourself With The Right People

Have you ever had a friend who always put you down? I have and it can influence how you view yourself and your thinking.

You don’t want to be around negative people because not only can they bring you down, they may feed into any negative thoughts you have. If you are finding it difficult to be positive when surrounded by those negative people, you need to surround yourself with different people.

Practise Gratitude

Writing in a gratitude journal or writing what you are grateful for in a list means that you are constantly focused on the positive and good things in your life. This is a great exercise to do in the morning to start your day positively, or do before bed, so can you can end your day on a positive note.

These are so many negative and unhealthy mindsets you need to challenge, so they do not hold you back from happiness and success.

Can you relate to any of these unhealthy mindsets? How have you challenged and overcome them? I’d love to hear in the comments.

65 thoughts on “5 Unhealthy Mindsets That Are Holding You Back From Happiness And Success

  1. Excellent advice. I’ve had very positive results from mindful meditation and cognitive reframing. The key for meditation for me is to practice daily so when I’m having a tough time I’ve already got the practice in place. Thanks for a great article.

  2. I definitely relate to almost all the negative mindsets, but one thing that has helped me a lot is practising gratitude for what i have now.

  3. Great post. It took me years to get rid of my negative thoughts and it’s still hard work to keep them at bay. But life is a lot better now I think positively. Useful tips for other people.

    1. Yes to all of this! I frequently reframe my thoughts and I am always working on forgiving myself for things that either aren’t my fault or happened a long time ago. I think by having good self-esteem and confidence you can combat a lot of negativity, then you will be better at dealing with people’s ‘highlights’ as you know you are worth just as much as them, regardless of your differences x

  4. These are great tips! Sometimes I tend to let my thoughts get the best of me, and then I start to feel guilty about a lot of things. I’m getting better though!

  5. Very well narrated ….I can easily relate to me.
    Ur surroundings matters a lot negative people always give the negative vibes ..and they always have the hold on others life

  6. Great blog post Lauren, I was 50 when I first realized the negative mindset I had. Then I became conscious of my thoughts and when I caught myself having a negative thought, I stopped and changed it to a positive one and it took time to change but I did it because I was determined. xo

  7. Fab tips! I have a really negative mindset and always seem to see the best in everyone else and the worst in myself, and I think regularly using a gratitude journal will really help combat this. Thank you so much for sharing such an important post x

  8. I won’t lie Lauren, I’m pretty sure I’ve done or am doing all of these things right now! Feel like I’m going through a bit of a rut and I’m especially quick to compare myself and my life to others when the self-esteem issues hit. Thank you for writing this – it’s comforting in a way to know I’m not alone in some of these things.

  9. This is a great post! We have definitely struggled with comparing ourselves to others. It’s hard to feel confident when someone might be a little further ahead. Thank you for sharing this!

  10. This is a great list. I’m still working on comparisons but I finally learned how to not assume that I’m not good enough. I’m getting happier and more stress free by the day!

  11. Comparison really is the thief of joy. I get this a lot with working out. I tend to follow superhumans on social media, and can’t help but feel down on myself for not being able to do 10% of what they do. But then I remind myself that I myself am growing better every day, and that’s the only thing that should matter. Thanks for this post!

  12. great post here! i’m guilty of negative self talk sometimes & i know it’s something i need to work on. i will use these suggestions you mentioned here to better myself. thanks for sharing!

  13. Lovely post, Lauren! Making comparisons have a detrimental effect on my mental health and I’m trying my best to not compare myself to others, since everyone’s paths are different and unique. Thank you for sharing! Meditation works wonders xx Penny / whatdidshetype.com

  14. I’ve definitely experience my fair share of these mindsets esp fortune telling and guilty thinking. It definitely a work in progress to rewrite the scripts in my head. Meditation and reframing your thoughts are great ways to do this. Awesome post. Thanks for sharing.

  15. I’ve experienced all of these. I’m currently experiencing a good few of them. It’s so difficult to overcome feelings like this when it’s all you’ve known, but I’ve been fighting hard against them for years now. Fantastic post as always pet!

  16. Meditation and gratitude can transform your life! They’ve helped me slow down, appreciate the present moment, and let go of things/thoughts that don’t serve me. Thank you for sharing!

  17. I have been in a few of these negative mindsets at different times, I still get in them sometimes now. I love gratitude journaling to put myself in a better frame of mind.
    I really enjoyed this post.

  18. Thinking about what I’m thinking about + catching the negative thoughts early has really helped me!! Constantly telling reminding myself that I’m the observer of the thoughts not the thoughts. Great post !

  19. I am definitely guilty of jumping to conclusions! You have a great list of solutions there, I really like the idea of reframing your mindset and looking at things from a more positive angle.

  20. It’s interesting that we are our own worst enemy. The power of thought is so strong that it has a direct impact (positive or negative) on our lives. It’s a continuous work to change our mindset to see things positively. Thank you for sharing this and for the solutions to unhealthy habits.

  21. I am so guilty of jumping to conclusions, usually based on very little evidence! Great tips, Lauren, thank you for sharing this, I especially like the reframing your thoughts one x

  22. ‘I am not good enough’ is pretty much me right now when I start thinking about the things I want to do and the goals I want to achieve. I hope I can work past this unhealthy mindset and strive for what I really want to do, but I know it’s going to take time x

    Lucy | http://www.lucymary.co.uk

  23. Can definitely relate to these, 2022 is definitely about learning to stop the negative thoughts about life and myself! Love this post 🙂

    Courtney x

  24. All points are great and clearly explained everything. I like this point Self-blame. Self-blame is a cognitive process in which an individual attributes the occurrence of a stressful event to oneself. Types of self-blame are hypothesized to contribute to depression, and self-blame is a component of self-directed emotions like guilt and self-disgust.

  25. Ooof im guilty of so much of those.. I also self-doubt a LOT; even if not at first glance, i’d try to reach something, and the closer I get I wonder if that’s what I want. If i’d be happier, etc.

    Thank you for your tips!
    sometimes it’s the little things that do help us & help to remind ourselves

  26. I am so guilty of all of these! The worst one for me is jumping to conclusions. I do that quite often. I am trying really hard to reframe my thoughts and practice gratitude. Thank you for this helpful post!

  27. I’m guilty of a lot of these especially the what ifs and trying to predict the future! A very helpful and insightful post I really enjoyed reading, it’s always nice to know your aren’t the only one who does things like this

  28. I can definitely relate to all of these. I find that the only thing that has really helped me get through it is learning how to breathe and get through those uncomfortable thoughts. I don’t have success with never having negative thoughts, especially since a lot of stuff happens to and around me, but I have gotten much better with not beating myself up. I’m starting to see a difference, although a tad small, where I can tell myself that everything is okay.

    For example: If I share my blog post and don’t get reactions, instead of deleting that post (like I did in the past) I find myself remembering that we are in different time zones, that I’m still learning marketing, and that it’s okay if not everyone likes my blog because not everyone will like it.

    It’s hard to shift that mindset of “something is wrong with me” or “something is wrong with them” to something among the lines of “I’m still learning and I’m a good writer.”

    Thank you for sharing!

  29. Reframing your thoughts I find helps me. I always think whether the thing I am worrying about will matter in 5 years time, and that helps put things in perspective. Thanks for sharing!

    Feel free to read some of my blogs 🙂

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