Identifying and Changing Patterns of Negative Thinking
Negative thinking is rampant in our society, with increasing levels of stress and anxiety putting people into a continuous state of fight or flight. Once negative thinking patterns get established it can be quite difficult to break them. But, paying attention to that little voice in your head that is telling you, you should have done this or that, can be an important means of learning to recognize and then let go of such unhealthy habits.
Cognitive therapy is one popular way of getting help with this process of restructuring thinking patterns. Cognitive therapy is a therapeutic method which consists of helping patients to recognize problematic thinking. According to practitioners, people suffering from depression and chronic anxiety are prone to defects in mental judgements. Instead of seeing things more objectively, depressed or emotionally disturbed people tend to fall prey to a host of distorted thought processes. By addressing these thoughts and restructuring the ways in which the individual in question thinks, cognitive therapy is said to yield good results in the treatment of such disorders.
Negative thinking is highly associated with depression, but most people to tend to have bad days where their thoughts or worries get the better of them. If too many of these days add up, then you may be falling into negative thinking modes that have long-lasting consequences. If one takes a look at the list of distortions reported to be present in the depressed individual, a great many regular people might see some of their own tendencies and thinking processes.
According to its practitioners, cognitive therapy works because it can identify a list of common fallacies by which those suffering from depression and anxiety tend to live. By identifying and reworking this list of ‘cognitive distortions’, as they are called, these therapists say people can actually become happier and healthier.
The list of distortions include some common tendencies such as all or nothing thinking; overgeneralizations; ignoring the positive in favour of focusing on the negative; jumping to conclusions; should statements and magnifying negative events or possibilities. These traits are all apparently common to those suffering from depression, but they can also affect anyone at different periods of time.
Paying attention to our thoughts without becoming overly identified with them is a great way to see what it might be that is actually causing us to feel worried, upset or angry. When we let negative patterns of thinking take hold, we see the world through the glass is half empty mode. In this state, we cannot see all the things that give us pleasure. So if you’re finding yourself saying should one too many times in a day, or over exaggerating how badly your next presentation is going to go, you might want to take the time to pay attention to how your thoughts are negatively impacting your life. You can, learn to change these patterns and learn to see the world in an entirely new light.
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