Learning to Work With Our Limitations & Negative Thoughts

Sometimes we forget that it is okay to be human. Let face it, as a human being we all will face struggles till the day we leave this world, this is a real fact in life. Therefore, it is healthy to accept our limitations. Most of us reject the aspects of ourselves when we see things or behave negatively. This is very unhealthy because we get stuck in this all-or-nothing thinking. When thinking in all-or-nothing terms, we split our views into extremes, we act and think in absolute terms. For example, such as never or ever. And it leaves room for little, if any, gray area in between, therefore the inability to see the alternatives in a situation or solutions to a problem.

Some of the most common negative thinking patterns, which we may recognize are:

  1. Black and white thinking: “Nobody likes me. I’m going to end up alone.”
  2. Mind reading: “I can tell people don’t like me because of the way they behave.”
  3. Crystal-ball gazing: “There’s no point in even trying. I know I’m not going to pass my exam anyway.
  4. Over-generalization: “This relationship didn’t work out. I’m never going to meet someone.”
  5. Disqualifying the “present: “I’ll relax later. But first I have to rush to finish this.”
  6. Over-reacting: “My friend hasn’t replied to my text in a few hours. She hates me. Nobody likes me.”
  7. Unrealistic expectations: “I have to get straight As. Nothing less is good enough.”
  8. Name-calling: “I can’t believe I did that. I’m such a loser.”
  9. Self-blame: “My boss looks mad. It must be something I did wrong.”
  10. Catastrophising: “If something is going to happen, it’ll probably be the worst-case scenario.”

To reverse negative thinking is to become aware of them. We have to catch ourselves in the act. By becoming aware of our thoughts, feelings, and reactions, as they happen. We can’t control the random thoughts that pop into our minds. But, we can become aware of them, pause, and choose what happens next. When we realize our thought is the cause of our anxiety or our dulling mood, a good first step is to figure out what kind of distorted thinking is taking place.

To better understand how our thoughts affect our emotions and behavior, we may want to consider reading “Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy” by clinical psychologist Dr. David Burns. This book is considered by many to be the definitive work on this subject.

A word from the therapist – Faith Foo Counseling

When you struggle with negative thought patterns and it’s impacting your life, consider talking to a mental health professional. While it can be tough to share the thoughts you have with someone, therapists can assess your negative thinking patterns and help you create a healthier inner dialogue.