How To Start Focusing On The Positive
Written by: Brandi Monasco
It happens to the best of us. We start overanalyzing situations and maybe even a few negative thoughts enter our minds. You start to have anxiety and you wonder how this situation is going to play out and hope that it ends well.
Well, no matter what the situation is that you’re in, negative feelings and negative thinking will never lead to positive results. In fact, negative thinking will do nothing more than make you stress even more – and stress can kill.
Negative feelings happen in the matter of opinion, meaning that they can come from your emotions such as anger or jealousy. These feelings can make you dislike yourself and can lower your self-esteem. Negative feelings can also be described as anything that makes you feel miserable or sad.
Holding on to negative feelings and thoughts can eventually cause you to go into a downward spiral, which can be the cause of depression. The longer you stay in this mind of thinking, the more that the anger or jealousy prevents you from enjoying your life and it ends up consuming you.
Fortunately, there is a way that you can deal with having negative feelings and thoughts.
This is called cognitive therapy. Cognitive therapy is an alternative way to help depression and this works without the use of antidepressant medications. In cognitive therapy, a person with depression starts to recognize and eventually correct his/her negative thoughts. When this is done consistently, over time the person will be able to realize that those negative thoughts and feelings were false beliefs that only played a major role in his/her depression.
Here are a few forms of negative thinking that can really contribute to your “downward spiral.”
- All-Or-Nothing Thinking. This type of thinking is basically seeing things as black or white and that there is no grey area, no in between area. An example of this type of thinking is thinking that if you are not perfect, that you are a failure in life. Or that B you got on the exam last week was not good enough, so you’re just going to fail at life.
- Labeling. Labeling is pretty much an extension of all-or-nothing thinking. Let’s say you make a mistake, it didn’t hurt anyone but you feel guilty about making that mistake. Instead of thinking “I made a mistake,” you start labeling yourself as being stupid or as a jerk.
- Overgeneralization. This type of thinking involves the words “never” or “always.” Such as “I will never be able to get into law school,” or “I am always clumsy.”
- Metal Filtering. Mental filtering occurs when there are both positive and negative thoughts or feelings, but instead of focusing on the positive, you focus more on the negative. For example, you host a dinner party and your guests loved the main course, but they mentioned that the cake was a little dry. You focus on the cake being dry instead of how much fun everyone had at your party.
If you are having these negative thoughts or feelings, there are steps that you can take to help combat these feelings and thoughts and to help make yourself feel better.
1. Write Everything Down. Writing everything down puts a distance between yourself and your feelings and thoughts.
2. Identify What Is Upsetting You. Figure out what is really bothering you. When you are able to do this, you are able to separate your thoughts and pin point what really is bothering you.
3. Reconsider Why You Are Upset. Are your negative thoughts and emotions practical to the situation or whatever it is that is making you upset?
4. Plan Of Action. Create a plan of action that can help you prevent negative thoughts or emotions in case the situation or event happens again.
Do you have any experience with cognitive therapy? Share with us in the comments below!
Source: Castleman, M. (1996). Nature’s Cures.
Brandi Monasco is a freelance writer, graphic designer and social media manager from Texas. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts and has recently found a new love for health and nutrition.
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