The Impact of Our Own Thoughts
Did you know that we maintain conversations with ourselves all the time? However, many of us don’t notice our own thoughts. For example, what you say to yourself when you look in the mirror, the list of activities you have to do every day, or when you think about whether or not you want to go to a party, those thoughts are part of our internal dialogue, which can benefit us or exacerbate our problems. Distorted thoughts are those that do not seem to have any basis in reality, and make us feel sad, frustrated, or disappointed.
Next, we will give you examples of unhealthy thought patterns so that you can begin to identify them. In comparison to these thoughts, we will show you some alternatives.
Prejudices and labels about others and oneself: This way of thinking will not let you see people as they are but often are a reflection about how you feel about yourself: "He is a loser", "He is a bad human being", "he is an easy one.”
Mental filter: You start to see all the situations according to your emotion: When you are in love you see everything rosy, "I feel like I'm in the clouds."
All or nothing: You think as if there are only two options: “Everything is black or white, it either turns out perfectly or it is a total failure, we are either friends or enemies.”
Overgeneralization: You generalize from a negative or unpleasant event, you use ‘never’ and ‘always’ expressions: When performing badly on a test you say, "I will never graduate".
Self-Inflicted Guilt: It happens when you feel guilty about an event that is not in your control, "My parents separated because I didn't do enough for them to be together, this is my fault."
Mind-reading/Over-analyzing: You interpret a situation by making a assumptions about what the other person is feeling/thinking and what could happen: Your friend yawns when talking to you and you think "I'm boring them, what I'm saying doesn't interest them."
Expectations: You have high expectations for yourself, others and your environment: "I should be the perfect employee", "I should be the best boyfriend", "I should have the best grades."
Discounting the positive: You reject positive situations and experiences as if they were not worth it: You get a 4.3 and you say to yourself "it is not good enough" or "anyone could have gotten this grade."
Identify the feeling behind your prejudice and describe the behaviors rather than pigeonhole yourself or others, e.g. "I feel uncomfortable with how you act."
Acknowledge the bias you have and try to broaden your vision from the opposite extreme, e.g.: “This emotion that I am experiencing makes me feel very good, but it is necessary to be grounded and realistic.”
Allow yourself to identify the nuances of a situation to avoid only seeing the extremes, e.g. "The teacher is strict, but he knows a lot and teaches very well."
Change negative thoughts for realistic thoughts: e.g. "I lost some marks, but I have three more assignments to recover from that bad grade"
Recognize that, in many situations, there’s only so much you can do. It’s important to remember that not everything that happens around you, depends on you. For example: “Even if it hurts, my parents have the freedom to separate if they decide to.”
Ask instead of making assumptions, e.g.: Your friend yawns while you talk, ask him if he is tired and if he prefers to talk at another time.
Value every moment, situation and person, including yourself. Often times we are doing the best we can, and that’s enough!
Highlight and value the positive of each situation, e.g.: "Although I expected a higher grade, I am happy because I learned a lot while studying.”
Referencias: Yurita,C.L. y DiTomasso, R.A. (2005). Cognitive Distorsions. En A. Freeman, S.H. Felgoise, A.M. Nezu, C.M. Nezu, M.A. Reinecke (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Springer
|Foto tomada de Freepik - www.freepik.es|
|Autora: Paula Andrea Pineda O. - DECA de Estudiantes|