Expert Content | January 01, 2006
Changing How You Think
Sometimes simply noticing that we are engaging in negative thinking is enough to help us thinking more clearly. At other times, we need to spend more time actually challenging these negative thinking patterns. We can do this by simply writing down our negative thoughts and then trying to come up with evidence for why they aren't true. Sometimes we might even need to check out the facts with someone else because, particularly with mind reading, getting more information can often help change how we feel about a situation.
Here is an example of how to challenge negative thinking once you recognize that you are doing it:
- The Situation
You walk into your office in the morning and say hello to your assistant and she says nothing in return. You feel hurt.
- Your Possible Interpretations
A) Mind reading: "I have done something to make her angry."
B) Catastrophic thinking: "This is going to be a horrible day."
- Challenging the Evidence
A) "I don't remember doing anything that would have made her angry."
B) "She might just be having a bad day."
C) "She might not have heard me when I said hello."
D) "I was looking forward to some of the things I have on my schedule today. It might not be a great day, but it doesn't have to be horrible."
- Coming to a Balanced Interpretation
"I have no idea why she didn't say hello back and I feel hurt, but instead of jumping to conclusions, I will check it out with her. If she is mad at me, I will deal with it. It doesn't have to ruin my whole day."
Printed from Oprah.com on Tuesday, March 11, 2014
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