Say No to Negative Thoughts
“I’m never going to finish rehab.”
“No one will ever love me again.”
“I’m never going to have a career again.”
Inaccurate, exaggerated thoughts (deemed as “cognitive distortions” in the world of psychology) like these can do a number on your mental health, leading to problems with self-esteem, mood, anxiety, depression and relapse. After all, how can you possibly feel good about you when you’re being mean to you?
Luckily, you can address and change these thoughts. The first step: noticing the negative things you say. Use this list of negative thought categories and examples from Mental Health America to get started:
- All-or-nothing thinking: Seeing the extremes – black or white, good or bad, all or none – and never any shades of gray. Example: “I’m never going to get it together.”
- Overgeneralization: Making sweeping conclusions based on a single event. Example: “My best friend is mad at me. I’m never going to have any friends ever again.”
- Negative mental clutter: Dwelling on a single negative detail and ignoring anything positive or neutral that might have happened. Example: “It was such an important meeting. Why did I make that stupid statement? I’m such an idiot.”
- Discounting the positive: Ignoring positive things or feelings or insisting that they “don’t count.” Example: “We love you.” “No, you don’t understand. No one will ever love me.”
- Emotional reasoning: Assuming something is true because you felt something. Example: “I feel guilty, so I’m probably a horrible person.”
- Should statements: Focusing on how things should have gone or been rather than how they actually are. Example: “I should really exercise more. I’m so gross.”
- Personalization: Ignoring how other people or factors may have contributed to negative events. Example: “Our relationship ended because I was a bad partner.”
Minding Your Mental Health
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