Your mind is very powerful. Yet, if you're like most people, you probably spend very little time reflecting on the way you think. After all, who thinks about thinking? How we think is very important.
But, the way you think about yourself turns into your reality. If you draw inaccurate conclusions about who you are and what you’re capable of doing, you’ll not only limit your potential, but you may also unknowingly be thinking your way into a host of stressful unhelpful symptoms.
Our thoughts act as self perpetuating cycles. Understanding that what we think (and how we are thinking) directly influences how you feel and how you behave is crucial to helping ourselves get unstuck. Our 'stuckness' is not happening to us, we are happening to it by the way we think about our experience. So if you think you’re a failure, you’ll feel like a failure. Then, you’ll act like a failure, which reinforces your belief that you must be a failure.
There is the reality of the situation and then there is the way you're seeing it.
Let's look at an assumption. “I’m just not good enough to advance in my career.” That assumption leads to feeling discouraged and causes to put in less effort. That lack of effort prevents that from getting a promotion. Or, someone will say, “I’m really socially awkward.” So when that individual goes to a social gathering, he stays to in the corner by himself. When no one speaks to him, it reinforces his belief that he must be socially awkward. Your beliefs get reinforced.
Once you draw a conclusion about yourself, you’re likely to do two things; look for evidence that reinforces your belief and discount anything that runs contrary to your belief.
Someone who develops the belief that he’s a failure, for example, will view each mistake as proof that he’s not good enough. When he does succeed at something, he’ll chalk it up to luck.
Consider for a minute that it might not be your lack of talent or lack of skills that are holding you back. Instead, it might be your beliefs that keep you from performing at your peak.
Building the knowledge skills and tools to thrive and creating a more positive outlook will lead to better outcomes. That’s not to say positive thoughts have magical powers. But helpful thinking leads to productive behaviour, which increases your chances of a successful outcome.
The good news is, you can change how you think. You can alter your perception and change your life.
People with a high internal locus of control believe in their own ability to control themselves and influence the world around them. They see their future as being in their own hands and that their own choices lead to success or failure.
People with a high external locus of control believe that control over events and what other people do is outside them, and that they personally have little or no control over such things. They may even believe that others have control over them and that they can do nothing but obey.
If you want to take more control of your life, act in a healthy way or be more successful, you want to learn to take a more internal position.
But what if you’re so preoccupied with “what ifs” and worst-case scenarios, that you lose touch with reality, your friends, your life, and yourself?
If worry becomes overwhelming, paralysing and toxic, it becomes a problem in itself. Unlike the type of worry that spurs you into action and uses your imagination in a positive and constructive way, this type of worry is sneaky and unrelenting. It leaves you feeling drained, sends your anxiety levels soaring, steals your happiness and makes you dread the future.
Let’s look at both imagination and worry a little bit closer. At their core, they are very similar as they both use your ability to visualise the future. But whereas imagination leaves you feeling empowered and energised, worry leaves you feeling drained, anxious and stressed.
Self-esteem is an aspect of the way we view ourselves. It’s different from self-image, which might describe a whole range of characteristics (such as ‘I’m British’ or ‘I’m female’) but without implying whether they are good or bad. Self-esteem refers to the overall opinion we have of ourselves and the value we place on ourselves as people.
Low self-esteem means that the tone of this opinion is negative: for example, ‘I’m unlovable’ or ‘I’m useless’. Of course most of us have mixed opinions of ourselves, but if your overall opinion is that you are an inadequate or inferior person, if you feel that you have no true worth and are not entitled to the good things in life, this means your self-esteem is low. And low self-esteem can have a painful and damaging effect on your life.
Unhelpful thinking styles are built upon automatic habitual patterns that you pick-up over a lifetime. These thinking styles become rather problematic when you consider the fact that they direct your behaviour at an unconscious level of awareness. Therefore if you’re in the habit of using some of these unhelpful thinking styles on a consistent basis, then you can be assured that you are not living up to your full potential.
These thoughts are not helpful. They are not making your life any easier, and they are certainly not empowering you whatsoever. The unhelpful thinking styles you have chosen to use and adopt are limiting your perspectives, denying you opportunities, creating additional problems, and making you feel absolutely miserable.
1. All-or-Nothing Thinking
3. Mental Filter
4. Disqualifying the Positive
5. Jumping to Conclusions – Mind Reading
6. Jumping to Conclusions – Fortune Telling
7. Magnification (Catastrophising) or Minimisation
8. Emotional Reasoning
9. Should Statements
10. Labeling and Mislabeling