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What is the difference between a limiting belief and a negative thought?








Yesterday I asked one of my patients who had difficulties in falling asleep, how is her night sleep?

The answer was the same as even we did not work on it together, on her thoughts before falling asleep. She said the same as when we met the first time: "I am not having problems sleeping, I have problems falling asleep". I realized that this is a limiting belief for her and that nothing will help before we get rid of this limiting belief.

Told her that what she just said is a limiting belief and got the answer I will concentrate on positive thoughts.

There is some confusion about limiting beliefs and negative thoughts, they are not the same.

In this blog I explain what the difference is.


A limiting belief and a negative thought are related psychological concepts, but they have distinct differences in terms of their nature, scope, and impact on an individual's mindset and behavior.

  1. Limiting Belief: A limiting belief is a deeply ingrained conviction or perspective that an individual holds about themselves, others, or the world around them. These beliefs are often subconscious and can shape a person's self-perception, actions, and decisions. Limiting beliefs tend to restrict one's potential, hinder personal growth, and create self-imposed boundaries. They are generally broader and more pervasive than individual thoughts, often forming part of a person's core belief system.

Examples of limiting beliefs include:

  • "I'm not smart enough to succeed."

  • "I'll never be good at relationships."

  • "I don't deserve happiness."

  1. Negative Thought: A negative thought is a fleeting or momentary pessimistic idea that crosses a person's mind. Negative thoughts are often triggered by specific situations, events, or challenges. Unlike limiting beliefs, negative thoughts are more temporary and situational in nature. They might arise in response to stress, failure, criticism, or other triggers, and they can influence a person's mood and emotions in the short term. Negative thoughts are more focused and may not necessarily reflect a person's overall belief system.

Examples of negative thoughts include:

  • "I messed up that presentation; I'm such a failure."

  • "Nobody likes me; I'm always alone."

  • "This situation is hopeless; there's no way out."

In summary, the key differences between a limiting belief and a negative thought are:

  • Nature and Persistence: Limiting beliefs are deep-seated, long-held convictions that impact various areas of life, while negative thoughts are temporary, specific, and tied to particular circumstances.

  • Scope: Limiting beliefs are broader and tend to shape a person's overall mindset and behavior, whereas negative thoughts are more focused on immediate situations or events.

  • Impact: Limiting beliefs can significantly hinder personal development and achievement by setting boundaries on what an individual believes they can achieve. Negative thoughts can influence emotions and mood in the short term, but they don't necessarily define a person's entire worldview.

Both limiting beliefs and negative thoughts can have a negative impact on a person's mental well-being and success. Recognizing them and challenging their validity is an important step in personal growth and improving one's mindset.

Negative thoughts can be systematically replaced with positive thoughts. for limiting beliefs I have may therapy processes that can eliminate them Both negative thoughts and limiting beliefs can be addressed and transformed through various therapeutic techniques and self-improvement practices. For negative thoughts:

  1. Cognitive Restructuring: This involves identifying and challenging the irrational or negative thought patterns and replacing them with more balanced and realistic thoughts. This process helps you reframe situations and view them from a more positive perspective.

  2. Positive Affirmations: Using positive affirmations can help counteract negative self-talk. Repeating affirmations that emphasize your strengths, capabilities, and positive qualities can gradually shift your mindset.

  3. Mindfulness and Meditation: Practicing mindfulness and meditation can help you become more aware of your thoughts and detach from negative thought patterns. This can lead to a greater sense of control over your thinking and emotions.

For limiting beliefs:

  1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is a widely used therapeutic approach that helps individuals identify and challenge their limiting beliefs. Therapists work with clients to reevaluate the evidence supporting these beliefs and develop more adaptive ways of thinking.

  2. Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP): NLP techniques can be used to rewire thought patterns and behaviors associated with limiting beliefs. Visualization, reframing, and other NLP tools can help transform these beliefs into empowering ones.

  3. EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) or Tapping: EFT involves tapping on specific energy meridian points while focusing on negative emotions or beliefs. This technique is believed to release emotional blockages and promote positive change.





  1. Hypnotherapy: Hypnotherapy can access the subconscious mind to address and reprogram deep-seated limiting beliefs. It's important to work with a qualified and reputable hypnotherapist.

  2. Self-Reflection and Journaling: Regularly journaling about your thoughts, beliefs, and experiences can help you identify patterns and challenge limiting beliefs. Writing down counter-evidence to these beliefs can be particularly helpful.

Remember that addressing both negative thoughts and limiting beliefs is a gradual process. It often requires consistent effort and a combination of approaches that work best for you. If you find that these issues significantly impact your well-being or daily life, seeking guidance from a mental health professional or therapist can provide personalized strategies and support.


And remember,

I am here to help you,

The Breathing

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