These are the common negative thinking patterns:
- All-or-nothing Thinking - This is commonly referred to as black and white thinking; everything is either one way or the other...there's never ever any middle ground. You're either perfect or a failure.
- Overgeneralization - Inaccurately concluding that because one negative or unpleasant experience happened that now every experience will end up the same way.
- Magnification (aka catastrophizing) - Exaggerating the negative details of an event and overemphasizing your own imperfections and fears, making things a much bigger deal than they are.
- Emotional Reasoning - Believing that how you feel accurately represents the truth of your reality.
- Should statements - Using "should" to motivate yourself when, ultimately, it only serves to make you feel frustrated and under more pressure.
- Negative Rumination - Continuously focusing on negative outcomes, leading to feelings of being stuck, anxious, and depressed.
- Overthinking - Trying to think and plan for every possible scenario and outcome; attempting to control the things that are beyond your control.
- Mindfulness Practice. In order to adopt more positive thinking patterns, you must first become aware of your current ways of thinking. By cultivating mindfulness, you can acknowledge and identify the thinking patterns that have become habitual, then decide whether or not to engage them. Mindfulness creates a distance between yourself and your thoughts, allowing you to view yourself as separate from them. Incorporate mindfulness into your morning or evening routine, sitting quietly for a few minutes and observing your thoughts. when a negative thought crosses your mind, rather than attach yourself to it, see it for what it is...a thought. Observe it and then let it pass. redirect your focus onto your breathing.
- Address your inner critic. Remember that he is your employee. he works FOR you...not the other way around. And while he may be a loyal worker, you can actually function better without his input. Learning what triggers him/her to "show up for work" can help you better prepare to help silence him. If you know that conflicts at work or at home cause your nasty inner critic to appear, you can then find better, more positive ways to deal with the problem before it arises. You can also challenge your critic; after all, he/she does work for you. You are always in charge. When you have a negative thought, try asking yourself if it's really true; is there strong evidence to back up the critic's claim. And feel free to fire him whenever you like!
- Write it out. Putting your feelings down on paper has a way of helping to ease them. When you see them written out in black and white, you can learn a great deal about them. Writing them down is a wonderful, as well, to unburden yourself. You will instantly feel a little lighter. When you write them down, you can easily identify the areas that need your attention. Journaling in the morning, first thing after you wake up, is the ideal time to transfer your stream of consciousness onto paper. And finally,
- Recite a Mantra. reciting a mantra or positive affirmation is a great way to pull yourself out from under the heavy rug of negative thinking. it can bring you back to the present moment. Positive affirmations are a simple, yet effective way to retrain your brain. Try one. You'll be presently surprised!