#Askingforafriend: Overcoming negative thinking, Part 1

As a man thinks, so he is; as he continues to think, so he remains.” -- James Allen

By Kiesha Collins
GCU Office of Student Care
#Askingforafriend

Before we can do anything, we must think about it first. Herein lies the key to our successes and our failures. How we talk to ourselves and think about our ability to perform a task has a great impact on the outcome of situations.

Our brains are wired to help us make decisions that keep us safe and surviving, which sometimes can sound like a negative voice in our head. This can be a motivating factor and can help us avoid dangerous situations or choose decisions that are less risky. But when that negative voice becomes excessive and starts to affect our self-esteem or limit us, then it’s a problem.

More often than not, negative self-talk is an automatic occurrence that happens without us even realizing it!

Negative thinking robs us from our present moment and makes situations appear worse than they actually are. This in turn can cause us to avoid situations and feel as if we are not in control or are inadequate.

However, we do not have to be victims of our minds and can learn to take back control! The first step to overcoming negative thinking is recognizing when it is happening in the moment.

There are several different types of distorted thoughts that can lead to negative thinking traps. Try to see if you recognize any of these distorted thought patterns:

  • Jumping to conclusions: There are two types. Fortune telling is predicting a negative outcome of a future event without any evidence. This can look like convincing yourself that you won’t get the job that you applied for despite any facts to support this thought. Mind reading means assuming you know what someone is thinking or how they will react before they have a chance to do so. An example would be not texting a friend because you think they wouldn’t want to hang out with you even though they have spent time with you in the past.
  • Black-and-white thinking: When you interpret an event through an all-or-nothing mindset, it leaves no space for the gray areas of life. This means thinking in “either/or” terms, such as “I’m either good or bad.”
  • Overgeneralizing: Drawing a general conclusion based on a single event. If you’re using words such as “always” and “never,” that is a great indicator of overgeneralizing. A great example of this is getting an unfavorable grade on an assignment and telling yourself, “I’m never going to do well in this class now.”

Now that you have learned a few of the most common cognitive distortions that people have, try to notice when they come up for you.

In Part 2 we will take a look at some effective ways that enable us to change our thoughts. Because when we can change our thoughts, we can change our lives!

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Bible Verse

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. (1 John 3:1)

To Read More: www.verseoftheday.com/