The way you communicate with yourself has a major impact on how you feel about yourself and others. Positive self-talk has the power to propel you to great heights. Negative self-talk can bring you down to the depths, where you feel like giving up.
10 Common Negative Thinking Patterns
- Filtering: Mental filtering is when we filter out the positives of a situation and only focus on the negative. E.g., That student left during my presentation, therefore my presentation was bad.
- Polarized thinking: Also known as “black-and-white” thinking, polarized thinking is when we believe there is no middle ground—either something is perfect or a failure. E.g., I missed that one question, so I did badly on the test.
- Overgeneralization: Overgeneralization is when we conclude that because of one bad experience, all experiences related to that will be bad. E.g., I failed that test. This is gonna be a horrible term.
- Catastrophizing: Also known as “magnifying,” catastrophizing is when we exaggerate the negative details of an event, making them a much bigger deal than they are. E.g., I failed that test—what if I flunk out of school?
- Jumping to conclusions: We jump to conclusions when we make a hasty judgment or believe something to be true without bothering to consider all the facts. E.g., She gave me that funny look. I think she hates me.
- Personalization: This is a cognitive distortion where we take everything personally and compare ourselves to others. E.g., He made that comment in class just to get at me.
- Control fallacies: There are two types of control fallacies. If we believe we are externally controlled, we perpetually see ourselves as the victim of external forces. If we believe we have internal control, we imagine that other people feel a certain way (pain, happiness, sadness, etc.) because of something we did. E.g., Are you mad because of something I said?
- Blaming: Blaming is when we either blame others for our emotional pain or blame ourselves for every problem. E.g., You’re the reason I had a bad day!
- Always being right: Similar to how it sounds, when we engage in this distortion, we believe we’re always right and will argue with people who think otherwise. E.g., I’m going to win this argument because I’m always right.
- Emotional reasoning: Emotional reasoning is when we believe that everything we feel must be true. E.g., I feel guilty, therefore I must be a bad person.
Be Aware of Your Thoughts
Turn Negatives into Positives
Understand What Triggers You
Create a Personal Mantra
Practice Daily Gratitude
Pay It Back
Switch Up Your Environment
Develop a Morning Routine
- Let natural light in.
- Get some exercise.
- Avoid technology.