In this weeks blog I want to help you recognise your negative automatic thoughts. Helping you to break free from your same patterns of bad behaviour so you can live a happier, and freer life.
Everybody has both positive and negative automatic thoughts.
They are built into everyone throughout your life by past experiences and the outcome of those situations.
Helpful Positive Thoughts
Let’s start first with a positive or helpful automatic thought.
When you want to cross the road and you see the red man, you know that means stop, and don’t cross. Then the green man appears and you know that it is safe to cross the road.
That’s a situational automatic thought that helps to cross the road and not endanger yourself.
Unhelpful Negative Thoughts
But sometimes thoughts can come up that make you feel scared and anxious, or that you believe a situation is dangerous. Really though, how true are these thoughts and how helpful have they been for you?
For example, people say to me that they hate social situations as they are scared that they will make a mistake and look and feel like a fool.
Again, these automatic thoughts are trying to help and in short term, it stops you from taking a risk. However, in the long term it has stopped you from going out and having new experiences, making friends and having fun.
You’re then left feeling stunted, frustrated and stuck in life.
Question Your Thoughts
These thoughts will always come up so rather than trying to change them, question how accurate they really are.
Say you are going to meet someone new and your automatic thought is to cancel the meeting because you feel anxious that you will feel awkward or make a mistake.
Think to yourself ‘I know this thought is trying to help but it is not 100% true – so go away!’
Just by seeing it as something you don’t have to act on, will free you up to change your behaviour. Learn to distance yourself from that thought, weigh up your options and live a happier life.
The more you start to step outside of your negative automatic thoughts, the easier it will be to distance yourself from them. Helping you to create a new way of life to feel validated, confident and able to get what.