Stop Negative Thinking
Self-defeating thoughts can be short lived or part of a condition we actively work to manage (often anxiety and depression). Either way, they don’t feel good, we all have them, and it’s important to catch ourselves when we start to notice them. We can do this by working as our own fact checker.
We do this with major debates, the news, and when someone else tells us something we’re not sure is true. The crazy thing about this is that we generally DON’T do this when it comes to our own thoughts or internal monologue. We assume these thoughts and ideas are 100% accurate, even when some of them are not.
As much as we would like to believe our own thoughts are always the truth, the fact is that sometimes they are FAKE NEWS. These specific negative and untrue thoughts are called “cognitive distortions”. Specifically, these are thoughts that reinforce negative thinking patterns that generally have little to no basis in reality. Essentially they are the words of our inner critic, not the voice of truth.
According to PsychCentral some of the most common distortions are called filtering, polarized thinking, and overgeneralizing. The best way to arm yourself against these distortions? Recognize when they are happening and GET INSIDE YOUR OWN HEAD. Don’t be scared to tell yourself your thoughts are wrong, especially when they are self-defeating. You can either be your best friend or your worst enemy. Don’t you want to have your own back?
Let’s take a closer look at these Top 3 Cognitive Distortions, and how we can better arm ourselves to deconstruct them:
Filtering: This is when we selectively filter out all positive instances and only focus on the negative. You know those meetings where your boss tells you 10 things you’re great at and one area for growth, but all you think about is the one negative? This is filtering. Instead of focusing on the area for growth, write down the 10 things that you were complimented on, and focus on these! We are much better off building on our strengths than we are focusing on the one thing we’re not great at. It’s ok to be mindful of your growth areas, but it’s not so great when we let them consume us. When we focus on our strengths, growth areas often improve as a result. Note how I called these “growth areas” and not “weaknesses”. Words matter – use ones that build you up, not tear you down!
Polarized thinking: Black and white. Right and Wrong. If you’re not first, you’re last. I either do everything at the gym or nothing at all. This is polarized thinking. The best way to combat it? Focus on progress NOT perfection. Success is in the details, and keeping a gratitude journal or list of victories over the course of the week makes a big difference. Consistency is essential to achieving any goal, not being perfect. The more we practice consistency and progress in anything we do, whether it be work, health goals, or relationships, the better off we’ll be at it. I don’t know how many times we have to tell ourselves this, but EVERY LITTLE BIT COUNTS! Anything else is polarized thinking. It’ okay to live in the “gray area”.
Overgeneralization: Taking one instance of something happening, and applying the result to all other areas is overgeneralizing. I actually did this with CrossFit. I went to one specific gym, had a terrible experience, and swore it off for good. Not just this specific center, but all of CrossFit, for the rest of my life. To be honest, I still haven’t gone back and this is something that I need to give another shot. I can’t take one bad coach or exercise class and apply it to every coach and gym out there. Scientists don’t take one finding in a small sample and then announce it to the world as the absolute truth, and neither should we. IT’S BAD SCIENCE!
Moral of the story: Investigate your thoughts and refute them. If you catch yourself having self doubt in any area, be sure to examine why and look for the positives. The more we focus on this, the more we hardwire the pathways to positive thinking and make it part of our natural thinking process. That’s the cool thing about our brains, the more we focus on something the more hardwired it becomes. So if we think positive, we’re going to be positive, and the same vice versa. Be a mad scientist – destroy the fake news in your brain! Don’t be afraid to question your own thinking. After all – we know ourselves best, and if we don’t call ourselves on our own BS, who will?
Hope to cope!
July 03, 2020
I have to say, it’s good to have a long weekend and it’s even better to celebrate an amazing event in our country’s history and world history.
While not perfect, because nothing is, the Declaration of Independence set the stage for this great nation by saying “all men are created equal.” At a time of so much rife, I hope this is something that everyone can rally around and find agreement.
Now here’s the rest of the news:
Investors Do Not See “Transitory” Inflation. Governments always justify printing money by saying there’s no inflation. They say rising inflation is transitory. When inflation soars, governments blame businesses…
July 03, 2019
Stress. It’s the “wallpaper of the 21st century.”
Seriously, take a minute to ask anyone — including yourself — how they’re doing. Chances are you’ll hear words like “busy”, “rushed”, or “swamped.” You know the drill; these are just ways that folks communicate that they’re stressed. Stress is ubiquitous, and for most people, it serves as the backdrop of their lives.
Make no mistake about it, some stress is important. It’s called eustress, and we wouldn’t get better in any area of life without it (e.g., learn, get stronger, grow). Good stress is short-lived, infrequent, is over quickly, can be part of a positive life experience, inspires you to action, and leaves you off better than you were before.
On the other hand, too much ongoing stress can be damaging to your health and your life in several ways. Stress can negatively affect:
- Mood and feelings of wellbeing
- Energy levels and focus
- Brain health & memory formation
- Sexual function
- Cardiovascular function
- Carbohydrate management and metabolic function
Too much stress can also wreak havoc on your waistline by affecting appetite, food choices, eating behaviours, and even through biological processes – increasing the body’s propensity to store belly fat. That’s quite the laundry list, but that’s not all.
The good news is that there are numerous healthy foods that can help ease stress.
To Reduced Stress, 🙂