Negative Thinking Pattern Alternatives

Last week you read about examples of negative thinking patterns. This week we will show you the self talk you can use as an alternative. As you could see from last week, if you allow the negative thinking to continue for long periods of time, it can lead to unhappiness and pain in relationships.  We hope you find some new ways to shift your thinking from our examples this week!

1. Filtering: You take the negative details and magnify them while filtering out the positive aspects of a stiuation.

Alternative: "I need to apply the 'at least' principle. When something bad happens, I fill in the blank- 'At Least _________'. This helps me look for a positive in the midst of a problem."

2. Polarized Thinking: Things are black or white, good or bad. You have to be perfect or you’re a failure. There is no middle ground.

Alternative: "Some and Okay are options and are more realistic. Being in the middle is more balanced."

3. Overgeneralizing: You come to a general conclusion based in a single piece of evidence. If something bad happens once, you expect it to happen over and over again.

Alternative: "Just because it happened before doesn't mean it will always happen. Absolute thinking words like  'always and never' are rarely true. I just need to trust my instincts and stay aware. If something bad happens again, I'll learn from it."

4. Mind reading: Without their saying so, you know what people are feeling and why they act the way they do. In particular, you are able to divine how people are feeling toward you.

Alternative: "Maybe I should ask them about that? Assumptions can cause miscommunication and reactivity."

Stay tuned this week for more alternative ways to think!

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling.  Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.