black_white_theater_masks_pc_400_clr_1632 I am useless!

Something bad is going to happened!

Others are bad!

Over the years, we tend to get into unhelpful thinking habits such as those described below. We might favour some over others, and there might be some that seem far too familiar.

Once you can identify your unhelpful thinking styles, you can start to notice them – they very often occur just before and during distressing situations.

Once you can notice them, then that can help you to challenge or distance yourself from those thoughts, and see the situation in a different and more helpful way.

Here are some common negative thinking habits. Do you recognize some?

1. Mental Filter

When we notice only what the filter allows or wants us to notice, and we dismiss anything that doesn’t ‘fit’. Like looking through dark blinkers or ‘gloomy specs’, or only catching the negative stuff in our ‘kitchen strainers’ whilst anything more positive or realistic is dismissed.

FIX: Ask yourself:   Am I only noticing the bad stuff? Am I filtering out the positives? Am I wearing those ‘gloomy specs’? What would be more realistic?

2. Prediction

Believing we know what’s going to happen in the future.

FIX: Am I thinking that I can predict the future? How likely is it that that might really happen?

3. Black and white thinking

Believing that something or someone can be only good or bad, right or wrong, rather than anything in-between or ‘shades of grey’.

FIX: Things aren’t either totally white or totally black – there are shades of grey. Where is this on the spectrum?

4. Memories

Current situations and events can trigger upsetting memories, leading us to believe that the danger is here and now, rather than in the past, causing us distress right now.

FIX: This is just a reminder of the past. That was then, and this is now. Even though this memory makes me feel upset, it’s not actually happening again right now.

5. Critical self

Putting ourselves down, self-criticism, blaming ourselves for events or situations that are not (totally) our responsibility

FIX: There I go, that internal bully’s at it again. Would most people who really know me say that about me? Is this something that I am totally responsible for?

6. Emotional Reasoning

I feel bad so it must be bad! I feel anxious, so I must be in danger.

FIX: Just because it feels bad, doesn’t necessary mean it is bad. My feelings are just a reaction to my thoughts – and thoughts are just automatic brain reflexes

7. Shoulds and Musts

Thinking or saying ‘I should’ (or shouldn’t) and ‘I must’ puts pressure on ourselves, and sets up unrealistic expectations.

FIX: Am I putting more pressure on myself, setting up expectations of myself that are almost impossible? What would be more realistic?

Take a deep breath and start fixing your negative thoughts right now.

By developing your resilience, coping skills, experiences and strengths, you can learn to see things differently.

To Your Success,

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Know many, Trust a few, But always paddle your own canoe! I hope you enjoyed it!