When we survive trauma, we may be left with warped thinking that affects us from that point on. An example of this would be a bad wartime experience that changes our thinking. We go from optimistic to paranoid. Some of those thinking patterns include:
o All-or-nothing thinking where you see the world as being one way only
o Must/should thinking where you feel you “must” do or be this or that
o Emotional thinking when your thoughts control what you think (ex. I’m afraid, so I must be in danger)
o Self-blame where we take responsibility for things we have no control over
o Expecting the worse
o Over-generalization where we believe that because something happened once, it’ll happen again
Negative thoughts increase our stress levels and leave us feeling bad most of the time. Yet, it is possible to change what we think and reduce some of the misery that comes with negative thinking patterns.
Try asking yourself the following questions whenever you need to combat negative thinking:
o Is there another way of looking at things?
o Is there any other explanation?
o What would a friend think about things?
o Am I expecting more of myself than I do of other people?
o Am I being realistic in how much control and responsibility I have?
o What would happen if my fears came true?
o Do I have other resources for handling the problem?
o Am I overestimating the risk involved?
Don’t let negative thoughts ruin your life or determine how happy you can be. Take back your joy!


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