Improve Your Wellbeing by Changing Counterproductive Thinking
Have you found yourself experiencing more unhelpful emotions than usual? Maybe you're feeling angrier and more frustrated, or you've been feeling down and helpless? Learn how your thinking patterns can affect both the way you feel and act.
What are thinking patterns?
Thinking patterns are our brain’s usual way of sorting out information and interpreting situations, events and experiences.
Why should you care?
Even though it may seem like our daily experiences determine our mood and behavior, it’s really our thoughts that determine how we feel and what we do. This is the reason people react differently to the same event! So, if our thought patterns are inflexible or inaccurate, they will directly impact the way we go about our daily lives.
Our thinking patterns can also have a big impact on those around us—whether it’s our friends or coworkers, or our Family members, kids or those we lead. Thinking patterns are usually learned from those around us by our early teens.
What can you do about it?
First, gain some awareness of your thinking patterns—do you fall into any of the traps below? Then, use the strategies mentioned to help re-train your brain and create better thinking habits.
- The “me, me, me” trap: Blaming yourself for bad things that happen, even if other circumstances or people contributed to the issue. Falling into this trap on a regular basis can lead to re-occurring feelings of guilt, shame, or sadness. If you find that you fall into this trap, remind yourself to look outward, and ask yourself ‘how have others or circumstances also contributed to this problem?’
- The “always, always, always” trap: : Thinking bad situations will be around for always and forever, and there’s nothing you can do about them. This can lead to a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness. If you find yourself falling into this trap, remind yourself to grab control, and ask yourself ‘what is changeable about the situation, and what can I control?’
- The “everything, everything, everything” trap: Thinking that a mistake or negative event in one area of your life (like work) will spill over everything else and negatively affect many other areas of your life (like relationships). This can also lead to hopelessness and helplessness. If you find yourself falling into this trap, remind yourself to get specific, and ask yourself ‘what specific area of my life will be affected, and what specific behavior explains the situation?’
Thinking traps can really challenge your ability to be resilient. Noticing you are falling into a trap and redirecting your thinking pattern in the moment can help you to be more flexible, accurate and thorough in your thinking. And that is a great start into your road to resilience.