I’ve been in therapy for all of 2019. Not because anything traumatic has happened, but because one of my goals this year was to shift my mindset and my way of thinking. I tend to be a “worst-case-scenario” thinker, which causes me a lot of unnecessary anxiety. Behavioral therapy has been really helpful in guiding me toward a more positive, natural mindset. During that process, I’ve learned that it’s not just one way of thinking that is unhelpful for our wellbeing, but a whole list of them. Here are a few that need dismantling:
Think about this like tunnel vision. Our brains have a habit of focusing on one part of the situation and ignoring the rest. Usually, it means we focus on the negative elements and forget the positives. So one whole scenario can be marred and ruined by one tiny negative detail. This also applies to the way we internalize our memories. Good memories vs. bad memories are all subject to which detail we choose to latch on to.
Jumping to Conclusions
One of the things my therapist has taught me is to “assume goodwill.” Instead of jumping to conclusions that the guy who just cut you off is a straight up asshole, release the instinctual anger and assume good will. Maybe they truly didn’t see you before switching lanes. We aren’t mind readers, and jumping to conclusions never ends well.
Hi, it’s me. This way of thinking blows things out of proportion and causes us to allow awful, dreadful thoughts to creep in and create unrealistic scenarios. In reality, the problem at hand is usually quite small. When those thoughts make their way into your brain, focus on manifesting positive thoughts and redirect the conversation in your head.
Have you ever said to someone “you’re always late” or “everyone is going to be there.” Is that true? Is that person truly late for every event in their entire life? Overgeneralizing takes an instance from the past and projects it onto the future. And once we start making those impositions, it’s hard to turn back.
“Labels are for soup cans, not people” was something an old teacher always used to say. Making global statements based on one certain behavior or aesthetic is unfair to ourselves and to others. There’s no need to put anyone in a box, mentally or figuratively.
Magnification and Minimization
In short, it’s about selling yourself short. How many times have you countered a compliment with “oh, I was just lucky”? Stop disqualifying your own achievements! You may think you’re being humble by saying “oh, they’re just being polite,” but really you’re just watering down your accomplishments and positive attributes. Don’t put yourself down for fear of appearing conceited. Own your excellence, girl!
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