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Thinking that Makes Things Worse!

obsessive thinking

By Linda Sapadin, Ph.D

If you long to unwrap the chains that keep you confined, the best way to do so is to alter the way you think. All thinking is not created equal. Instead of guiding you toward good decision-making, some thinking confuses you, impeding your ability to make good decisions.

Here are 7 types of thinking that usually makes things worse:

1. All or Nothing Thinking

“I have no options; I must do it this way.”
“If I can’t do it perfectly, why even try?”

2. Never and Always Thinking

“This always happens to me!”
“I can never count on you for anything.”

3. Exaggerating Responsibility

“It’s all your fault!”
“I should have known better.”
(when there was no way for you to have known what was going to happen)

4. Treating Disappointments as Disasters

“Nobody will ever want to be my friend.”
“If I don’t get this job, there will be nothing out there for me.”

5. Undermining Your Coping Skills

“I don’t know how I’ll ever get through this.”
“I don’t have the courage to face this.”

6. Certainty with no Corroborating Evidence

“After what I did, I know everyone’s going to hate me.”
“She said I did a good job but she’s just trying to be nice.”

7. “If Only” Thinking

“If only my kids would behave, I’d be happy.”
“If only I’d chosen a different career, I’d be successful.”

If you recognize your thinking in these examples, pay attention to the words of philosopher William James. “The greatest discovery is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind.”

But how do you do this?

  • First step is to stay calm. Don’t let strong emotions dominate your thinking.
  • Then, define the problem. Focusing on the wrong problem will not lead you to the right answer. Neither exaggerate nor minimize the problem.
  • If you’re becoming obsessive, get your mind on something else. The old adage of “sleeping on it” to gain a fresh perspective is wise.
  • Stepping away from a situation for a while, may make you more responsible., not less responsible.
  • Once you’re thinking with a clear mind, review your options. If you think it would be helpful, consult with another whose opinion you value.
  • Then decide what action, if any, you will take.

Will your thinking keep making things worse? Or will you resolve to evolve, empowering yourself from this day forward. You decide!

Copyright © 2019: Linda Sapadin, Ph.D
Linda Sapadin is a psychologist and personal coach in private practice who specializes in helping people enrich their lives, enhance their relationships and overcome self-defeating patterns of behavior. For more information about her work, contact her by email or visit her website at PsychWisdom.

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