6 negative thinking patterns
And how to turn them around
Are you second guessing yourself?
Is there something that you should move forward on but…
you are holding back on taking the necessary steps.
waiting for perfection
waiting to feel more confident and certain
or just plain avoiding it because it feels so uncomfortable?
But it’s still there isn’t?
You have this uneasy unfinished feeling that is always just beneath the surface.
In his book, Unleash the Power of the Female Brain, Daniel Amen identifies six negative thought patterns that we use to sabotage achieving our goals. See if any of these sound familiar:
- Over-generalization: When we make a situation out to be worse than it is. It often involves words such as: always, never, every time or everyone.
- Example: I can never lose weight no matter how hard I try.
- Example: There is no point in setting a goal. Every time I do I fail.
- Example: Changing my lifestyle is too hard and every time I try I fail.
- Thinking with feelings: Assuming your feelings are correct and making decisions based on feelings rather than rational thinking.
- Example: I’m too stressed out today to exercise after work.
- Example: I feel like a failure and there is no point in trying.
- Example: I’m so depressed, I deserve to eat dessert even though I’m trying to avoid sugar.
- Predicting the future: Anticipating the worst case scenario which often leads to unnecessary anxiety and failure to follow through on previous decisions.
- Example: The gym will probably be so crowded I won’t even be able to get on the weight machines, so I might as well not even try.
- Example: Attending networking groups makes me nervous and is a waste of time so I’m going to cancel.
- Example: I always do terrible in interviews so there’s no point in looking for another job.
- Blame: Setting yourself up to be a victim of circumstances by blaming something or someone else for the problems in your life. Failing to recognize and use your own power to effect change.
- Example: It’s my boss’ fault that I’m stuck in this job I hate. He/She makes work unbearable.
- Example: It’s my spouse’s fault that I can’t lose weight. He/She won’t eat healthy food and tempts me with dessert.
- Example: How can you expect me to get my work done when everyone around me is so distracting?
- Denial: Failure to recognize the truth.
- Example: Not exercising is not really a big deal. I feel fine without it.
- Example: Sure this job is stressful, but that’s just the way it is. I can handle it.
- Example: Retail therapy isn’t a problem. I could get out of debt if I wanted to.
- Focusing on the Negative: Always looking for the negative rather than the positive in any situation. A glass half empty approach.
- Example: Spending quiet time in the morning setting priorities and planning my day is just a waste of time. I’m still stressed out and non-productive.
- Example: This diet isn’t working. I only lost 3 pounds this week. I might as well enjoy myself and eat what I want.
- Example: I tried making a few sales calls but no one wants what I’m selling.
We all use negative thinking sometimes. The trick is to recognize it, call ourselves on it and turn our thinking around.
Here’s how to challenge and change negative beliefs. Begin by writing down the thoughts you are telling yourself. Then ask yourself the following questions:
- Is it true?
- If the answer is ‘yes’, ask yourself, can you absolutely know without a doubt that it is true?
- How do you react when you believe that thought?
- Who would you be without the thought?
- How would you feel if you didn’t have that thought?
Now take the original thought and completely turn it around to its opposite and ask yourself:
- Could the opposite of the original thought be true?
- Could it be even truer than the original thought?
- Which thought serves me better?
- Which thought is ultimately in my best interest to believe?
Now practice keeping the new and positive thought in the forefront in the upcoming week. Notice the difference it makes in your decision making and your actions.
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