Our mental makeup can be attributed to the way we’ve been brought up, or our environment and the people we met while growing up or even the people we interact with as adults, somehow have the power to influence our thoughts – if we let them.
Someone once said, don’t believe your own thoughts – there is a lot of truth in that. With the exposure to all kinds of media and the constant hits of information, clutter our minds and there comes a point where even the healthiest folks have destructive thoughts. These are the kind of thoughts that holds people back from truly achieving what they ideally should. Here is a list of 6 destructive thoughts and what to do when you catch yourself thinking them:
1. Everything’s either black or white – nothing in between.
Such thoughts are very critical in nature – it’s either this way or that and this type of thinking limits all possible ways to solve a given problem. This may increase conflicts with the people you interact with as well and people may take you to be inflexible.
If you find yourself thinking this, then gently bring your awareness to this thought – Take a step back and try to look at what the other person has to say or offer. In fact, question yourself if this thought is the ultimate truth? Does it have any weight to it? There is always more than one way to do things.
2. There is a problem with everything. Nothing’s perfect!
It is so easy for people to be negative than to have a positive outlook on things; maybe we are just wired that way. Even if there are no problems, you may proactively go looking for it for reasons only a therapist could decipher.
Nonetheless, if you do find yourself thinking this, then again, bring your awareness to such a thought pattern. You could have a big sign somewhere at your workplace or at home that says ‘No Problem’ to help you snap out of such thought patterns.
3. I love my comfort zone.
Yes, we all want things that are secure, constant and that are at our comfort level. The truth is the only thing that’s constant is change. And if you only begin to think about how comfortable you can be, then a change that is waiting to propel you to the next level may never take place.
When people are parked in their comfort zones, more often than not, they may have an innate fear of the unknown. If you find yourself having such a thought, then remember to take it one step at a time and extend your zone of comfort little by little. Reflect on your past where you did take a chance and it was successful; it may remind you that change is good for everybody.
4. I will always feel this way.
This one is not a rare state for many people. If you are feeling miserable for some reason at this point, then in your mind, you may assume that this feeling is going to last you a lifetime. The truth is you never know how you’d feel the next day or even an hour from now! Your mind isn’t always right.
When you find yourself slowly sinking in your comfort level and thinking ok, today I’m just going to laze on my couch instead of going to the gym, I need the rest anyway. Then you can toughen up and decide that you need to go the gym regardless of how you feel about it. When you make up your mind and finally do go to the gym, within minutes, you’d start to enjoy your time there and would be thankful you made the right decision.
5. I know how this works.
This thought is quite similar to #1. When someone is trying to share their opinion or thoughts or experience about a certain thing, you may immediately jump to conclusions and say you already know this. What happens is that you don’t even want to be a part of that conversation anymore and there is a tendency to miss out on important learnings.
Such thoughts make us egotistical and even arrogant, and these qualities are vices one must avoid if they want to grow. If you find yourself thinking this, remind yourself that there is always something to learn from others. Young or old, everyone has something to offer.
6. I want what they have. Now.
Feeling envious can be very frustrating for people. It’s one of those feelings that gnaw at your soul and embitter your outlook on life itself. So much negativity is detrimental for you.
If you find yourself feeling miserable as you feel envious, remember to focus on your things first. Instead of comparing what you have against what others have, just compare how you were and how far you’ve come from that point. There will always be someone else who is better than us. However, focusing on yourself and being grateful for what you have is a great way to get over this feeling.