All Over The Road
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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Recognise your negative thinking patterns

Rendering of human brain.Image via Wikipedia

Recognise your negative thinking patterns
Recognise your negative thinking patterns

Do you automatically think "I'm useless” if you do something wrong, or assume that if your neighbour ignores you, she must hate you?

These distorted thoughts can really take their toll on your self-esteem. Below is a list of 10 negative ways of thinking, if you can recognise yourself having these thoughts then you can begin the process of rationalising them.

1. Personalisation
Even though it’s largely out of your control you blame yourself for a negative event that occurred 'If I had taken more care, I never would have lost my mobile phone.'

2. Filtering
One negative happening, such as a rude comment made to you during an otherwise enjoyable evening changes your whole perspective on the evening and puts you on a downer

3. Rejecting praise
Closing off the positive such as a compliment, affectionate gesture or praise goes unnoticed, ignored or deflected; you might reply with, 'It’s no big deal.'

4. Drawing false conclusions
You draw negative conclusions without getting your facts straight. You try and predict the future or guess what someone else is feeling 'My sister is upset, she must be angry with me.'

5. Negative reasoning
You are sure that your negative opinion of a situation reflects reality. Such as: 'My husband drops his socks on the floor just to aggravate me.'

6. Using the word 'should' in your vocabulary
You adhere to being a perfectionist and following certain rules about what you 'should' be doing. You feel useless and guilty when you can’t stick to your rules.

7. Overgeneralisation
One negative event, such as an insult from your partner or an argument with someone causes you to exaggerate the situation. For example, you might think, 'She’s always cold' or 'You can’t trust anyone.'

8. Labelling
Rather than learning from a mistake and using it as an experience that has helped you grow as a person, you label yourself negatively: 'I’m a failure.' You do the same to other people too: 'She’s so controlling.'

9. Magnification or minimisation
You wind yourself up so that molehill problems become mountains 'I know I won’t be any good at it.' Or you minimize anything that might make you feel good, such as appreciation for a kind act you did or the recognition that other people have flaws, too.

10. All or nothing
If you don’t perform with perfection, then you consider yourself a complete failure.

Negative thoughts don’t have to be a way of life, you can 'unlearn' self-defeating ways of thinking that pave the way toward mood disorders.

Writing things down on paper really helps. Take some time out of your day to write down a negative event, notice your thought pattern from the list above and look at then write down a different perspective with a more rational and optimistic response.

Just the act of writing gives you back some power and control over the situation and once you have recognised your negative thought pattern you are on the way to teaching yourself new patterns, positive ones!
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