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How Stop Negative Thinking
Replace your self-defeating thoughts with self-supporting thoughts.
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 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 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 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 Psych Central, 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 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:
This is when we selectively filter out all positive instances and only focus on the negative. 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!
Black and white. Right and Wrong. If you’re not first, you’re last. 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 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’s okay to live in the “gray area.”
Taking one instance of something happening and applying the result to all other areas is overgeneralizing.
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 positively, 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 thinking. After all - we know ourselves best, and if we don’t call ourselves on our nonsense, who will?
Stay safe and healthy! God bless!
To a bettter you!
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ABOUT THE BLOGGER
Hi, I'm Ralph Gregore Masalihit!
An RFP Graduate (Registered Financial Planner Institute - Philippines).
A Personal Finance Advocate. An I.T. by Profession. An Investor. Business Minded. An Introvert. A Photography Enthusiast. A Travel and Personal Finance Blogger (Lakbay Diwa and Kuripot Pinoy).
Currently, I'm working my way toward time and financial freedom.