Here, we are not talking of the many everyday thoughts that run through our minds.
Hannah’s story: “Anger, fantasies, fear, despair, and obsessions — what is normal and what is not? Is your husband drinking too much? When does sadness become depression? What do those thoughts about your best friend’s wife really mean? I’ll begin with a topic near and dear to my heart: intrusive thoughts. I am a new mother. I adore my son. He is beautiful and sweet and playful. And, when he was younger, I couldn’t stand at the top of my stairs without imagining myself dropping him down the stairs and seeing his tiny, helpless body writhing in pain. Scary image? Yes! Normal? Yes!” (Hannah Reese Ph.D. Intrusive Thoughts: Normal or Not?Am I a terrible person for thinking that? psychologytoday.com)
We are concerned with- Negative thinking
“Negative thinking is any type of thinking that leads to negative consequences. It can be hard to recognize negative thinking sometimes. You may only recognize that your life isn’t working.
Identifying your negative thinking is the first step towards change. These are the common types of negative thinking. There is some overlap among them. But giving each a name makes it easier to remember them.
The Big Four Types of Negative Thinking
- All-or-Nothing Thinking: “I have to do things perfectly, and anything less is a failure.”
- Focusing on the Negatives: “Nothing goes my way. It feels like one disappointment after another.” A variation is being overly judgmental: “The world is falling apart. I don’t like what I see around me.”
- Negative Self-Labeling: “I’m a failure. If people knew the real me, they wouldn’t like me. I am flawed.”
- Catastrophizing: “If something is going to happen, it’ll probably be the worst-case scenario.”
Other Common Types of Negative Thinking
- Excessive Need for Approval: “I can only be happy if people like me. If someone is upset, it’s probably my fault.”
- Mind Reading: “I can tell people don’t like me because of the way they behave.”
- Should Statements: “People should be fair, and when they are not they should be punished.”
- Disqualifying the Present: “I’ll relax later. But first I have to rush to finish this.”
- Dwelling on the Past: “If I dwell on why I’m unhappy and what went wrong, maybe I’ll feel better.”
- Pessimism: “Life is a struggle. I don’t think we are meant to be happy. I don’t trust people who are happy. If something good happens in my life, I usually have to pay for it with something bad.”
Consequences of Negative Thinking
All-or-nothing thinking is the most common type of negative thinking, and it is a common cause of anxiety, depression, and addiction.
All-or-nothing thinking leads to anxiety because you think that any mistake is a failure. You worry that any mistake may expose you to criticism or judgment. Therefore you don’t give yourself permission to relax and let down your guard.
All-or-nothing thinking can lead to depression because when you think you have to be perfect, you feel trapped by your own unrealistic standards. Feeling trapped is one of the known causes of depression.
All-or-nothing thinking can lead to addiction because anxiety or depression feels so uncomfortable that you may turn to drugs or alcohol to escape.
Negative thinking not only leads to unhappiness, it is also an obstacle to self-change. When you think in an all-or-nothing way, any change feels like a big deal. You can’t see the small steps, and you don’t have the energy to take big steps, therefore you feel stuck. (cognitivetherapyguide.org/negative-thinking-patterns)
Treatment- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Hunt M.A. “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (also known by the abbreviation as CBT) is described by fellow mental health professional, Ben Martin Psy.D of Psyche Central as a short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that takes a hands-on, practical approach to problem-solving.
Most professionals, would agree, its goal is to change patterns of thinking or behavior that are behind people’s difficulties, and so change the way they feel. It is used to help treat a wide range of issues in a person’s life, from sleeping difficulties or relationship problems, to drug and alcohol abuse or anxiety and depression. CBT works by changing people’s attitudes and thereby focusing on the thoughts, images, beliefs and attitudes that we hold (our cognitive processes) and how this relates to the way we behave, as a way of dealing with emotional problems.
Cognitive behavioral therapy tends to be short, taking just months for most emotional problems. Ideally, clients attend one session per week, each session lasting about an hour. During this time, we are working together to understand what the problems are and to develop a new strategy for tackling them. CBT introduces our clients to a set of principles that they can apply whenever they need to, and which will stand them in good stead throughout their lives. Behavioral therapy pays close attention to the relationship between our problems, our behavior and our thoughts. CBT is based on the idea that it’s not the events themselves that upset us but the meanings we give them.
One might encounter a situation, thinking, “This always happens to me. I’m a failure.” Instead of focusing on the specifics of the event, deciding on how to deal with them- leaving out the negative generalizations. Thinking, behaving and feeling this debilitating way may start a downward spiral. CBT helps people to correct these misinterpretations.” (Matthew Hunt M.A. COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY In a nutshell, Counselingondemand.com)
This is where Counseling on Demand comes in.
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