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Identifying Negative Automatic Thought Patterns

negative thinking Aug 05, 2021

When you want to change something about your life, the first step is to change the way you think. But this can sometimes be a challenging feat, because first you need to know what thoughts you need to eliminate. Below are some common negative thought patterns which can help you identify negative thoughts in your own mind and remove them from your life.

 Any Thought In Which You Think Negatively Of Yourself

 You will likely come across a number of challenges or difficulties in your life which you must work through. And sometimes, when you are working through them, the method you have chosen may not work.

 In the same way, you will also make mistakes in your life. In either of these examples, you may find yourself thinking negatively about yourself. And this is a negative automatic thought pattern. No matter what has happened, you are never a failure, stupid, or any other variation of the words, so stop any thought of the sort in their path right now.

 Stop Anything That Has To Do With Jumping To Conclusions

 You probably already know that jumping to conclusions is never a good thing. And whenever you assume the outcome of something without knowing all the details, you are jumping to conclusions and this is a negative thought pattern.

This is because these conclusions can often be negative, or cause you to react negatively to a situation which may not even have occurred yet. Stop these thoughts by reminding yourself to slow down and wait until you have all the information to proceed. 

Remember that assuming you know what someone is thinking, or assuming you know the future, both fall under jumping to conclusions. Thoughts along either of these paths are also negative thought patterns which should be stopped by reminding yourself to investigate to find the truth than making assumptions on what you don’t know.

Don’t Remove Or Disqualify The Positive

Whatever situation you may find yourself in, there is always a positive side. And sometimes, you may choose to remove the positive side and instead fixate on the negatives. This is clearly a negative thought process.

In the same manner, if you recognise the positive side then think it will never happen to you, this is disqualifying the positive and it is also a thought which must be avoided. Instead, remind yourself to focus on the positive and let all the negative details fall away.

Stop Thoughts Blowing Things Out Of Proportion

As previously mentioned, you will make mistakes and face challenges in your life. That is life. But when something unplanned happens, you should be able to deal with it calmly and rationally. If you find yourself catastrophizing, this is an especially dangerous thought pattern which can quickly grow out of control depending on your imagination. This is why it is best to avoid thinking about the what ifs at all.

So, when you are faced with a situation which seems to grow within your mind, remind yourself to focus on the here and now and that you don’t know what will happen. This will help you keep a more level head as you work to overcome your challenge or mistake.

Of course, these aren’t all the negative thought patterns which could exist in your mind. And any thought which repeats over and over, and causes you anxiety or stress, is probably a negative thought pattern and should be avoided. If you want to live a more happy and positive life, you first you must work to identify the negative thoughts in your mind, and learn to replace them with more positive methods of thinking.