REFRAMING – PART 2

by SHELLEY BRUCARIn the Breeze

“IN THE BREEZE” fiber art by Shelley Brucar

EVENT –>  BELIEFS, FEELINGS & THOUGHTS –> CONSEQUENCES

Let’s further explore negative thinking.  Did you come up with some examples of automatic (negative) reactions to events in your life?  If you have not had a chance to think about this, do it now.  What events/circumstances provoke negative, and often irrational, thought patterns for you?  Is it -the flashing lights in your rearview mirror?  – the phone call from an aging parent?  -criticism/feedback from someone at work or from a friend?  -the end to a relationship?  -a “funny” look or comment from a friend or coworker?

Here are some very common, and very distorted, thought patterns that are counterproductive because they make us feel bad and stressed-out.  And these thought patterns are not necessary because if examined, you can find fallacies in all of them.

1.  ALL-OR-NOTHING THINKING:  Everything is good or bad, black or white; there is no middle ground.  You’re either perfect or worthless, and any small problem escalates to gigantic proportions.  For example, “Susie doesn’t agree with me; she must hate me.”

2. OVER-GENERALIZATION:  Reaching a general conclusion based on a single event.  For example:  “I forgot to get gas yesterday; now I’ll be late; the whole day is ruined.”

3. CATASTROPHIZING:  Magnifying the severity of events; expecting disaster.  For example:  “If I don’t get this job, my career is over.” or “Nothing good ever happens to me.”

4. PERSONALIZATION:  Thinking everything others do or say is a reaction to you.  For example:  “Susie hasn’t called yet today; she must be mad at me.”

5. BLAMING:  Holding others responsible for your problems.  For example: “If s/he wouln’t nag so much, I would be happier.”

6. DISCOUNTING WHAT IS POSITIVE: No matter what you do, it’s never enough.  “Yes I got a good grade/performance review, but it could have been better.”

7. LABELING: Identifying yourself with negative labels.  “I’m stupid/incompetent/a failure.”

8. SHOULDS: Strict rules about how you, and others, should behave.  “I should always be available when a friend, parent, spouse, child, etc. needs me.” or “I should have more patience.”

Look at the events in your life that you named at the beginning of this post.  What negative/distorted thinking patterns are at work?

Now look for the fallacies in this distorted thinking.  Ask yourself, where is the evidence that this is true?

To be continued…

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Filed under Art Stuff, Reframe, Stress

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