How to fight your negative thoughts with this powerful exercise
Negative thoughts Scourge of our society.
It does not stop.
Every day you have the right. Non-stop. You can not go.
You are desperately waiting for the moment when these thoughts will strike, but unfortunately it is not the SNCF. You will wait a long time.
You ended up learning to live with it. But admit it you rot life and that you wish that it stops, that it stops, if only a chouia, to swirl in your head.
When it is from time to time, we say that it's okay, it's not the sea to drink. On the other hand, when it's morning, noon and night, it's something else.
As soon as a negative thought grips you, you are at his mercy.
You wander and you can not concentrate anymore. This negative thought introduces you to other friends of hers. It stresses you even more and puts you in even more trouble. While you may have started your day well, your morale and mood are going down at once. Boom. Here they are at zero even before you realize what is happening.
Let it be said: it does not matter we do not help our life. No. Worse than that : it rots.
However, I have bad news for you dear reader.
You will never, ever, ever get rid of your negative thoughts forever. Myself, after years of work thanks to positive psychology and the science of happiness, I always have one or more negative thoughts that creep into my head and continue to surprise me.
But no luck for them, I have a secret weapon. I draw as fast as Lucky Luck and BOOM. Basta. They fled as quickly as they came.
But alas, I can not rest on my laurels. It would be too easy otherwise ...
Because you will understand correctly: we will always have negative thoughts. It's like that.
You can then tell me:
"Lirone, it's sad. What is the point of continuing reading the article if you tell me that there is nothing to do and that I am condemned to live with it? "
What is the point of continuing reading the article? What's the point ? You dared to ask me that question?
I have an answer: obviously to please me. = D
Tyrion agrees with me.
No, more seriously, I have a better reason for you: because you can learn to manage them like me and others have done it over time.
Otherwise, believe me that if I had not done, that if I had not learned to manage them, to live with (without suffering) you will not be able to read for example this great article and this blog n probably would never have existed; because you see, an army of negative thoughts told me at the time:
"Lirone, you're sick! Imagine that your entourage falls on your blog. They will carry you for life and will treat you as an orange tunic guru!“, "Lirone, seriously, who are you to open a blog about happiness? A teddy bear? " or "Lirone, give up. Look, you're not even able to line up three words without spelling errors and you have a blog with a design that borders on Internet Explorer. Do you think people will read you? Pitiful."
In short, I would never have opened this blog.
Fortunately (after 6 months of fighting with these thoughts), I opened this blog and yihaaa I had ... only one visit. It was madness!
Good enough about me. You are not here for that.
You are here to evolve personally and you will not regret it.
In this article you will see two things:
- What are the types of negative thoughts that make you feel bad to better identify and better understand them in order to manage them
- A very simple exercise (but not necessarily easy) to fight the battle against these thoughts
Believe me that at the end of this article, you will come out grown up! If you have not learned anything, you will have the right to swing a negative thought;). (which I will obviously counter).
In my eyes, Part 1 is the most important because this part will help you to identify your negative thoughts. Indeed, if you can not identify the type of negative thought that runs through your mind, there is no point trying to counter them.
As much to attack a ghost what. No ?
You are ready ?
Great. What are we waiting for?
And well, here we go! We attack.
Negative thoughts, who are you really? Because you scare me and you drive me crazy.
When we say negative thoughts, it's still pretty vague. We often think of this kind of thoughts:
"I'm bad", "I can not do it", "I'm ugly", "I'm shy", "I'm fat", "P *, I have a big snitch", "I have rotten friends "and so on.
You know them, do not you? I'm sure you're full of it. Those are classics. They could almost be intimate friends.
But be aware that negative thoughts can be so much more than that. For example :
"The world is bad, I do not know how we'll get out of it", "It's hopeless", "Why try?", "If I did not pass this exam, it means I do not will not succeed others ".
And even more subtle:
"I wrote him a message, he did not answer me. It's a c * d. "," This person is horrible "," The recruiter turned me down. That means I'm not made for this job. Too bad I will do something else "," I was born in a bad environment, therefore, it is useless that I compete with the best ".
And many more.
I could write a book as big as the miserable ones with just the negative thoughts that can be heard regularly.
Now, I'll tell you something. Something that made me understand a lot later.
Keep this in your mind:
Because know that he is impossible to stop thinking whether you like it or not (except in exceptional cases like those who meditate all day).
You can not believe me? Very simple to illustrate all this.
Close your eyes and start focusing on your breathing. Count to 10.
You inhale. 1. You exhale. You inhale. 2. And so on.
I'm willing to bet that before you even get to 10, your mind will take you somewhere else.
"What am I going to eat earlier?", "It's bad as an exercise". "I dared to do that?", "Is he serious there?"
You see ?
In the end, it's not so bad if you think constantly. On the other hand, it is a bit more if we have a negative program that runs in a loop in our head.
That's why you have to train yourself to become aware of your thoughts. Meditation is a great tool for this purpose. You have a complete guide to this right here.
Self-consciousness. The force of the war.
It's a big topic and it's not the purpose of this article, but now, having a heightened self-awareness is very important to be the captain on board. Unfortunately, because we live in a frenetic society, we let ourselves embark on a journey where we are not masters on board. We let's go guided.
Which has the consequence that we find ourselves in a destination we did not necessarily choose. And guess what? We are complaining. (You now understand why we are the world champion of the complaint;))
And by complaining: hop you win in addition to negative thoughts. It's a gift ;).
So, that's why in this first part, it's important for me to tell you the most common types of negative thoughts for the sole purpose that you can identify them when they surprise you.
I am a negative cognition
Cognition comes from the Latin cognito which means thought.
Cognition in the broad and general sense is all of your beliefs, thoughts and prejudices.
Why do I talk to you about cognition now?
Um, because I just wanted to spread my culture;).
More seriously, it is for the rest of this article to be clearer for you.
In psychological jargon, negative thoughts are called dysfunctional thoughts or cognitive distortions which are more commonly mistakes that we make when we record information.
You basically record information from reality. This information passes through a filter specific to you and this information can be close to reality or very far away.
If you want, it's Aaron Beck, American psychiatrist who did some work that was meant to show that we are what we think.
The general idea to remember is:
You are dealing with an external event -> Cognitive interpretation -> Automatic thought that triggers -> Emotion that appears.
Revolution Positive. From stimulus to the appearance of an emotion
And it's because we have inadequate cognition that we misinterpret a situation.
Quite simply : negative automatic thoughts are cognitive errors.
This explains why, faced with the same situation, two people will see this event in a totally different way. For one, it will be a disaster. For the other, an opportunity.
The first person will feel hurt, will think that it is nil and that it will probably not succeed. She might even think that HR was horrible to her and that it's a c *.
On the contrary, the other person will see in this event an opportunity to better work their future interviews and even say that if she has not had this job, it is better job to wait for later.
These two people therefore have two different perceptions of the same event.
Although it is very anxious and depressed people who have a lot of cognitive distortions, we are not spared.
Nor me. Neither you nor the neighbor! No luck, huh?
So the process I want you to do is: learn to detect and analyze these cognitive distortions for :
- Train you to have a more great self-awareness
- Have the mind clearer
- To have some more realistic attitudes
- To be less caught in the whirlwind of your thoughts
- To be pread positive in your life
Do you understand ?
I hope so.
So we continue! Do not let go! We are almost at the end. For pity, put on off your thoughts that can tell you:
"Go leave this article, it is too long. You better look at your phone or see if you've received a new invitation to play on Facebook. "Or" Come on, come on, we'll have a nibble. We will never come back to it later.
Here are the most common negative thoughts
I will introduce you to the nine types of dysfunctional thoughts that are the most common and that you may encounter at any time in your everyday life. Rest assured, there are others, but they do not interest us here.
Prepare yourselves !
For each of these categories, try to see if it makes sense in you and if you are used to thinking like that. We will then see together an exercise to be done just after that.
- The generalization : generalize from an experience. This is to say that since a situation has occurred in a certain sense, it will happen to you again and again in all places and in all circumstances.
A single negative event can then influence all the future behavior of a person who is then definitely doomed to failure.Examples:"I got a rake again. Of course I'm going to finish alone and it's useless for me to keep trying to find someone because I'll be doing it indefinitely. "Or" I missed my job interview. It will happen again because I missed this time. "
- Dichotomous thought : all or nothing. Either black or white. Total loss of shades. It's thinking that if something did not go exactly the way you want, then it's a failure.Examples:"I missed an exam. It's useless for me to continue "," She cheated on me. I'm a good-for-nothing who can not keep his girlfriend. "
- Dramatization: it is to exaggerate the situation in the negative, that is, to accentuate more what went wrong while minimizing its strengths. It's waiting for you every time at worst in every situation.Examples:"I spilled a drink on someone I hardly knew. I'm really bad and clumsy, it does not work out. It's a disaster and that's it, it's sure it will be definitely cold with me "or" Whatever I did in the past, today I totally fucked and that's it who counts."
- Focus or selective abstraction If a negative thing has happened, if an error has been made, you do not see more than that. You think only of this failure. Everything turns in a loop in your head. All these negative thoughts are monopolized to rehearse this event. The rest ? More importance. It is the fact of filtering only the negative, to forget the positive. Even when everything is fine, even when a similar situation will occur, but this time positive, the person concerned will always observe what is negative.
That's all I do not advocate on the blog;).
In short, instead of having the positive glasses that I recommend you wear, this person will have negative glasses.Examples:"Wouah Lirone made a misspelling on an article of more than 3,000 words. His article is naze "," Somebody yawned during my presentation of 20 minutes, so it is sure that people have been bored "
- Disqualification of the positive It is transforming a neutral or positive experience into a negative one. All that is positive is analyzed as lying in your head.Examples: "Yeah I'm sure he told me this compliment to please me or because there is an interest behind", "I passed this test, but it was a stroke of luck."
- personalization is to feel responsible for the behavior of others. It's taking responsibility for a situation that is beyond your controlExamples: "If my son / daughter is like that, it's my fault. I am a bad parent, "" My friend had a depression. It's my fault, I was not up to the task, "" He's upset, I've necessarily said something wrong. "
- Attribution error : it is the thought that if you feel so anxious and worried, it is proof that this is a major and serious problem. Instead of attributing your discomfort to your anxiety, you attribute it to a supposed "gravity" of the problem. An emotion that you feel is then considered a true reality.Examples:"I have a button on my finger, that's it I have a generalized cancer" (some will understand this example), "Everyone looks at me strangely, I had to do something wrong".
- Hasty conclusions : it is the fact of imagining disaster scenarios without proofs and without foundations. And you do everything to believe it.Examples:"My boss did not say hello today. I'm going to get fired. In addition it's true that strangely I have not heard from him recently "," I missed my year. I will not have my diploma. I will be unemployed. I'll be in the street with nothing and alone. "," My friend did not come on time. He must have had an accident or he does not esteem me at all. "
- Labeling:these are definitive and emotionally charged judgments that you bear on others or on yourself when the reality reflects something else.Examples: "I do not serve anything", "This person always does anything", "This person is blonde, it is useless that I tell him smart things"
So what does it say?
You did see. There is not one type of negative thought. It's a whole range of choices available to you. It's very diverse!
Madness is not it?
With all that, there is enough to make a real firework in your head.
You now understand that people who are depressed are living a real Formula 1 race of negative thoughts in their head. It's constantly bubbling.
So far you have seen the types of negative thoughts that may exist. You have a better representation and you have identified them. Now, facing all his thoughts, what to do?
This is the subject of the next part.
What to do ?
You can analyze your dysfunctional thoughts with a trained psychologist (there is no harm in that, know it) and / or analyze them alone.
You have seen, there are many types of negative thoughts.
So here is what you have to do. If possible, every day.
Whenever you catch a negative thought, write it down on a piece of paper and assign a category to it. Do this for at least a week. At the end of the week, you probably notice some patterns of thought that are constantly repeated.
Which of these thoughts are true and in what proportions?
This is the question you need to ask yourself every time.
I will not lie to you.
Some of your beliefs are false and others are partially true.
In any case, it is important to realize this because these thoughts are the very source of anxiety. And anxiety can be a problem in your life.
Get involved ...
Once you unravel the truth from the wrong, you have to turn your dysfunctional thoughts into realistic thoughts.
This step requires significant involvement on your part.
Because it's pretty deceitful. You will understand why.
If I say to you:"Do not think of a pink elephant".
First thing you do is think of a pink elephant. Game over.
So it's hard to stop thinking about something especially when it's automatic. So you have to set up a effective strategy.
Because if you say to yourself: "I must not think about it", "Do not think about this negative thought"you will think even more about it until you tear your hair out of your head!
So you understand that it's not enough to stop thinking about something. It's useless and inefficient.
I told you that I was going to propose a solution! I will not let you down like that;).
This is where the cognitive competitiveness comes in.
Counter your thoughts through cognitive competitiveness
The general idea of this concept is:
It's actually a fight between two thoughts where one ends up overthrowing the other.
Here is the exercise you will perform.
Choose a negative thought that often comes up in your head.
Then choose a target thought, the one you want to use instead of negative thinking. This thought must not be stupidly the opposite of the first.
For example if you say "I'm bad, I'm not worth anything" and you replace the thought with "I'm a giant, I'm a stupid person, incredible, at the top", it's unlikely that it works, because the contrast is too big between what you think you are and what you want to be.
You would know deep inside you that you are lying. You would not believe it even if at first you forced yourself.
Go soft and step by step.
The new thinking must be realistic, credible and easily adoptable and adaptable to act positively.
You must use two types of thoughts:
- Antidote thinking which aims to counter-attack your dysfunctional thoughts. It must be formulated positively. You must not use negative words and you must formulate it in the present.
for example "I have no reason to be afraid to miss this interview" is not a good sentence.
Once chosen and well defined, you will need a little time to train yourself to counter this negative thought that will always continue to impose (in the beginning) automatically in your mind.
However, as soon as it appears, boom you counterattack with your antidote thinking. You draw your antidote as fast as your shadow.
After a while this thought antidote will be stronger and become an automatism for you! First victory :). From now on, you can change the sentence so that it is even more positive and level up. Little by little, your confidence will increase.
- Proactive thinking which aims to strengthen your beliefs. While Antidote Thought serves to counter-attack your negative thinking, Proactive Thinking will complete it.
Focus on the qualities you have and want to develop. Visualize yourself in the ideal situation which is quite the opposite what you currently think.
Because every time you are going to be absorbed in your thoughts, this time positive, you will no longer be haunted by your fears and anguish.
Boom, you knocked out your negative thinking.
So how was the fight?
Not easy at first, I grant you. Do not worry, it's normal! It is by forging that you become a blacksmith, as the famous saying goes.
It's a gymnastics spirit to practice.
Continue to experiment, continue the recommended exercises. By force, it will become a reflex for you and you will find yourself the results that it can have.
Fighting negative thoughts with the help of cognitive competitiveness
In any case :
Congratulations, you are on the right path!
If you read these lines, I'm proud of you. You have managed to focus on content that can help you.
Look what we have seen together (and it's not nothing):
- You know identify types of negative thoughts that pop up in your head
- You have read about a tool: cognitive competitiveness who will help you counter your negative thoughts.
Not bad is not it ?
You are on the right track because now you have tools at your disposal to carry out your personal evolution towards the road of the positive.
It is by learning to work on your cognitions that you can be more positive and optimistic in your life.
Moreover, if you want to continue your journey towards optimism, I have created an 8 week training that will allow you to change your mindset to be more positive and optimistic in your life . It's this way.
In any case, the path is far from easy, but it is a job that is important to me and that will serve you every day. Do not be passive anymore.
In general, beproactive in your life.
There are always ups and downs in life.Even me, there are times when I would like things to be different, but that's the way it is. You have to learn to live with and adapt.
When a negative situation occurs, I put on my positive glasses and try to step back, see what can I learn and what are the positive things I can learn from it.
(Recommended reading: The RAIN method to deal with the worries and difficulties of life.)
If you are at this moment in a difficult time, I wish you good luck and I encourage you to not let go.
Again, stay on course, raise your head and move on!
Know that you will always have this inner flame in you and that whatever happens, as serious as the situation, it will not go out and just wait to be revived.
Persevere, keep fighting and at some point you will see the light at the end of the tunnel. At that moment, you can only be proud of yourself!
Be proud of yourself, be proud of the path you have traveled so far no matter what happened,be proud of yourself because you are unique like you and I'm sure you're great! (If you think no, put it in the comments, that I come to pull the suspenders!)))
Just believe in yourself and be proactive, that's all I ask you.
Thank you for your attention,
Lirone, hunter of negative thoughts
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A. T. Beck, The Diagnosis and Management of Depression, Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1967
A. T. Beck, Cognitive Therapy of Depression, 1979
A. T. Beck,Depression: Clinical, Experimental, and Theoretical Aspects (1967)
How does cognitive therapy prevent depressive relapse and why should attentional control (mindfulness) training help?