As well as being a queen-gurner I’m pretty good at putting myself down (there I go again).
Negative thinking is normal. But it doesn’t have to ruin your life.
Did you know that 4 out of 5 thoughts are negative?
Let’s think about that for a moment…
Four out of five thoughts.
80% of all the thoughts you have.
Given this fact, it’s not surprising that we don’t always feel at our best, or our most confident version of our self.
It’s normal for you to feel a bit uptight, anxious, worried or stressed about almost anything (even if it hasn’t actually happened). You’re only human.
According to the founder of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Dr. Aaron Beck:
“It’s not the events or pressure itself that causes us stress, but our reactions to them”
I’ve created a list of the different types of negative thoughts you might have experienced yourself or know someone who does. They are known appropriately in the trade as Automatic Negative Thoughts – ANTs.
Imagine tiny ants scuttling around your mind, going round and round with no clear end point, just round and round and round.
Do you recognise any of these?
I used to do this all the time. Let’s say one person in my workshop looks disengaged or puzzled. Do I remain focused on the other 19 who are listening intently and nodding? No, I focus on the disengaged person and assume she thinks I’m rubbish, that my workshop content is dull, that I’ve said something stupid, that she hates my facilitation style etc.
Trying to predict the future where in real life the odds might actually be in your favour, but you jump to a negative conclusion. Perhaps you predict or you “just know” that you’re going to fail your driving test, or that last night’s date won’t call you back.
All or nothing
Let’s imagine your recent date hasn’t called you and it’s been more than four days since you last met up (they’re obviously a total loser). You naturally feel a little hurt by this and discouraged, but your thoughts quickly go all drama-queen-esque and extreme: “I’m never going to meet the person of my dreams”, “Nobody is ever going to like me enough to stick around”.
Discounting the positive
Even though you got the job (Yay! Go you!), instead of being pleased with yourself and celebrating all our achievements that go you this far, you discount this success by thinking that the other candidates must have been really rubbish; or that the hiring managers made a mistake and they’ll find you out; or that they offered the job to the other candidates first, who all turned it down, so it was given to you; or that you just got lucky.
Have you ever jumped to the worse case scenario no matter how unrealistic it is? What about the time your daughter hadn’t arrived home from school, she was 20 minutes late and you imagined that she’d been hurt or injured or run over by bus or kidnapped? Then she called to say she’d stopped off at a friend’s house and would be home soon (phew!).
Should, ought, must
Setting yourself unrealistic goals? “I shouldn’t eat so much ice-cream”, or rigid rules “I must go to the gym every day this week”, “I shouldn’t get so upset”. Or are you expecting a lot from other people? “They ought to have arranged that by now”, “I ought to be in a more senior role earning more money at my age”.
And how do you feel after having these ANTs?
It’s exhausting having this experience 80% of the time. And they only lead to more rumination, make you feel more anxious, and then you end up worrying that your’e worrying too much. Ugh!
BUT (you know what comes next) the amazingly brilliant news that you CAN learn to control these ANTs.
You can learn to react to them in a totally different way (Marvellous! Hurrah! Tell me how! I need this!).
COME JOIN US!
TAME YOUR INNER CRITIC – my FREE 5 Day Challenge for Women
Each day you’ll learn something new about your Inner Critic and how to overcome it.
You know that managing your reaction to these thoughts helps you to reduce your moment to moment frustration, worry, anxiety, and, as if by magic (but it’s scientifically proven) you begin to re-wire your brain, allowing you to have more positive and joyful experiences (that you so deserve!).
I simplify evidence-based psychological techniques and add a few exercises that focus on boosting your compassion and confidence, and ultimately help you to reclaim your headspace from those little ANTs.
Start acting in your own best interest
Come join me and the other women who have signed up to the next LIVE round of Tame Your Inner Critic