Hot thoughts destroy mental health.
Unfortunately, the average person hasn’t heard of them. The definition is just too confusing to make sense and there aren’t many relatable examples. But you need to have an intimate understanding of hot thoughts because they are likely keeping you stuck.
So let’s talk about hot thoughts and define them in a relatable way with examples. You’ll not only get a good grasp of the thing that is making you miserable, you’ll gain the power to change it.
Awareness is the first step
Hot thoughts are defined as “instant negative reactions to perceived threats or problems.” I don’t know about you, but to me that just sounds like a jumble of words. So it’s understandable to think hot thoughts don’t pertain to you. I wouldn’t think they pertain to me either.
But the current definition being ambiguous and difficult to apply to real-life doesn’t mean we are immune. Because, while, “I’m not good enough,” doesn’t seem like an, “instant negative reaction to perceived threats or problems,” it is indeed a hot thought.
And unless you are some kind of thought management savant, you have hot thoughts and you need to know how to identify and control them or you are going to be miserable.
Hot thoughts: examples
Hot thoughts are intense thoughts that you believe to be true. Since beliefs are thoughts that you’ve frequently had, you might not realize there is anything hot about them. Some examples are:
- “I’ll never find love.”
- “I’m not attractive.”
- “If I fail this exam, my life is over.”
- “Everyone is judging me.”
- “I’m broken.”
- “I’m a failure.”
- “If my pictures doesn’t get 100 likes, I’m a loser.”
- “If I don’t get married, make x amount, etc. my life sucks.”
- “I farted in front of my crush. I’ll never recover from this.”
As you can see, hot thoughts are extreme. They cause a rigid view of reality by hyper focusing on the negative. They remove your ability of choice. Since hot thoughts may be your norm, you may not realize there are alternatives.
Alternative “neutral thoughts”
The opposite of hot thoughts are cool thoughts. But you don’t want to be too cool. Think of it like an oven. Too hot and the cake will burn, too cool and the cake is mush. You do not want to go to the total opposite, what you want are neutral thoughts. Neutral alternatives to the hot thoughts above are:
- “Finding love takes time, and every failed relationship brings me closer to a successful one.”
- “Attraction is subjective, and there are qualities about me that others appreciate.”
- “If I don’t do well on this exam, I’ll start studying more or I’ll talk to the professor and figure out how to improve.”
- “People have their own concerns. I need to focus on being true to myself.”
- “I have challenges, but I’m resilient and capable of growth and healing.”
- “Failure is a part of the learning process, and it doesn’t define my worth or potential.”
- “The number of likes doesn’t determine my value or worth as a person.”
- “My happiness and fulfillment come from various aspects of life, not just specific milestones.”
- “Embarrassing moments happen, it sucks but doesn’t define my future interactions or relationships.”
Unfortunately, it is common for people to counter hot thoughts with excessive positive thinking that invalidates and can make things worse. To complete the picture, let’s talk about them now.
Toxic positivity (cool thoughts) is excessive positive thinking that rejects humanness. Common to our culture, and similar to hot thoughts, most people do not realize the cool thoughts as being destructive.
Examples of cool thoughts or “toxic positivity” to the hot thoughts above:
- “Just think positive, and you’ll find love.”
- “You’re beautiful inside and out, so you shouldn’t feel insecure.”
- “Failure is not an option. Just believe in yourself and everything will work out.”
- “Don’t worry about what others think; their opinions don’t matter.”
- “Just focus on the positive and forget about any negative emotions or experiences.”
- “You’re never a failure; just think positively, and success will come.”
- “Likes don’t define your worth; you’re amazing regardless of how many you get.”
- “You can achieve anything you want, so don’t settle for less.”
- “Don’t worry about a small mishap; it won’t matter in the grand scheme of things.”
Both hot thoughts and cool thoughts have negative consequences. It is what keeps most people stuck and miserable and the reason most people are stressed, depressed and anxious.
Effects of hot thoughts
Thoughts determine how successful you will be and thoughts also influence your definition of success. They are like dominos, they create a chain reaction. And while there are external factors that contribute to your life, your thoughts result in how you feel and navigate those external factors.
Let’s take the first example and apply it to real-life:
If Alex thinks “I’ll never find love,” it will lead to a feeling of sadness, hopelessness and likely some depression or lack of fulfillment. In those emotions he will probably close himself off to dating or he will date but not put much effort and thought into it. This will ensure he does not find love. He might also resort to negative coping mechanisms, like excessive drinking and overeating. And he might lose motivation to go to the gym, which will contribute to a lack of motivation for life.
On the neutral end, if Alex believes that finding love takes time and every failed relationship brings him closer to a successful one, then after a heartbreak or failed date, he will probably take time to collect his thoughts. Maybe he will take a break from dating and spend time with friends. Or maybe he will process his emotions and figure out what he liked and didn’t like about his previous partner. When he is ready, he will go back into the dating scene with a fresh perspective and healthy optimism.
On the toxic positivity end, if Alex invalidates his frustration with dating and tells himself to, “Just think positive, and you’ll find love,” instead of taking a breather and reconnecting with himself, he may double down and start to obsess. This may lead to him coming off desperate or it could end up with him giving chances to people who aren’t a good fit. Similar to hot thoughts, this will ensure he does not find love, or it will make the process much more difficult than it needs to be. Alex is in line for an eye twitch, heart burn and some insomnia.
While hot and cool thoughts do not automatically set you up for a life of misery (thinking that would be a hot thought!), they make things more difficult than they need to be. Hot thoughts skew your perception, invalidate your humanness, and make life seem almost impossible to navigate. Neutral thoughts will bring you a more balanced perspective and will help you get to where you want to be, no matter where you are now.