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Unhelpful Thinking

We are taking a look at our thought patterns.  Many of our thought patterns are habitual and many don’t help or support us.

How we behave is controlled by the way we think.

Our lives can literally change if we master how we think.

Let’s take a look at negative thought patterns.

Mental filter – looking at a problem as if it is one-dimensional.  Albert Einstien said ‘if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change’  One of the laws of the Universe tells us that there is always an equal or opposite. Therefore for every problem, there is always a solution and maybe many more, if we just change the way we look at it. If we think it is a problem, it will be. If we know there is a solution we will find one.

Catastrophising – are you exaggerating? or is there some learning to be had?  Can you see it differently? Is it as bad as your first thought.

Magnification and Minimisation – we can also call this comparison. Do you compare yourself to others? both in a good and bad way. Do you look at others and see they are better or you are better than them?  The world is full of unique people and you are one of them.  Comparing yourself to others is a losing game. Admire those you want to admire but don’t feel ‘less’ than them. They have their own problems too.  Feeling better than someone is our ego.

Emotional Reasoning – assessing a situation or making a decision is not the best choice when you are feeling negatively emotional.  Decisions made during an emotional state are a reaction to how you are feeling.  Wait until you feel in a better place before making decisions or assessing situations otherwise, you are bringing negative energy to a situation which can often result in a negative result.

Jumping to Conclusions – This often boils down to ‘they did this which means that’  We all have different beliefs, values and programming. I wonder if you can slow down your reaction, take a step back.  Examine if someone did X does that really mean Y?. They look at you a certain way, they behave a certain way – and we make that about ourselves.

Should have/must have – How many times do we say I should have done that or I must have this.  Should have is full of regret and in the past, leave it there. ‘Must haves’ places pressure on yourself. When you see a nice dress and you say I must have that even though you can’t afford it, then you feel frustrated that you can’t have it.  They are statements that provoke negative emotions.  Have a reality check…you can live without the dress as disappointing as it is. Put some perspective on it.

All or Nothing – We often place these demands on ourselves as well as others because left undone it means something about you.  How many times have you heard yourself say ‘it’s all or nothing’  All or nothing is very black and white.  Examine it, does it really have to be all or nothing?

Personalisation – blaming yourself for something that has happened outside of you.  Examine it more closely, is it all down to you? If so, what can you learn from it, what can you differently next time?

Labelling – example, someone doesn’t do something you’ve asked them to do, so maybe you label them ‘unhelpful.  You didn’t do what you were supposed to do and maybe you label yourself ‘lazy’  Think about the number of times you label someone and yourself.  Be careful what you label someone, sometimes they will try to live up to your expectation.

Overgeneralising – using sweeping statements like ‘everyone who works there is unhelpful, all men are the same, I won’t shop there as everyone is unfriendly.  They all talk behind my back, No-one ever helps me, no-one understands, rich people are greedy. Generalising is catergorising everyone or everything to be the same. I am sure if you take a step back that someone who works there has been helpful, that you know men who aren’t the same, that there is someone in that shop that is friendly, that they don’t all talk behind your back and I know many rich people who are not greedy and do pay their taxes as well as contributing a whole lot to charity and society.

Where to start?  Just start to become aware when you use any of these thinking styles.  Examine them, ask yourself is it really true or why you think that.

We hope you’ve found this article helpful to start to break down any negative thought patterns.


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