06.21.2017

Wellness Wednesday || Watch Those Thoughts….6 To Catch Yourself Thinking

I’m a thinker. The kind that thinks through interactions, evaluates situations, and puts a lot of thought into everything I do. I’m also a daydreamer. With that though, comes a mind full of thoughts. When I was practicing therapy, I talked at length about cognitions with my clients. A lot. Along with other life situations, these cognitive distortions, as they are technically referred to, had a huge impact on the way they viewed themselves, others, and their life in general. They have that kind of impact on everyone once in a while. Bottom line, we can’t avoid thoughts, they’re always there.

For me, all these annoying thoughts, in some way or another, make me feel a certain way about myself…  as if I’m a failure… make me feel different ways about others….. as if they are intending to be mean and malicious ( swear I’m not a paranoid person….)…. and others prevent me from acting…. as if I can really see into the future and predict that negative event…… which is why I always try to catch them, acknowledge them, challenge them, and move on. Of course, I’m simplifying the entire process…. it takes work…. and sometimes I just have to accept the thought, but not let it hold me back. Yet, the point of today’s post is to share some of those dangerous thought patterns…. what they look like…. and how I, personally, deal with them to decrease anxiety, worry, and sadness.

**I feel the need to note here that I am not acting in any professional capacity… or recommending any course of treatment…. this is simply how I deal, and if it helps you too, that’s great! 

1. Overgeneralization: I’m guilty of this one. It’s pretty much when you take a single negative situation and apply it to everything…. or snow-ball it, as if there is no end to the negative cycle. For me, so much of my job is social media based, and overgeneralization happens all the time here. If something doesn’t perform for a few days, I start to worry, start to generalize this snapshot in time, and fail to see it as a temporary situation. I combat this one by reminding myself that sometimes there are lulls in life…. that life can’t always be one big success train (although, I wouldn’t mind if it was….). It’s funny, I once heard the saying, at church, “This too shall pass….” and was reminded that it refers to the good, and the bad. It’s the motto I try to use when I start to overgeneralize.

2. Discounting The Positives: While I don’t consider myself a perfectionist (you should see my tuberware cabinet…. open at your own risk…) I do give it my all in areas I choose to focus my attention…. relationships, collaborations, motherhood, and fitness…. so much so, that when I experience a set back, I tend to automatically discount all of the successes I have had, as if it doesn’t matter (which, it does). When I catch myself in this loop, I try to write down all the positives I have experienced in that specific area. This often helps me to see the reality of the situation and to shift my focus.

3. Personalization: I’m sensitive, so this one hits home all the time. When I find myself in a situation where someone was rude or offensive, I tend to first go to “what did I do to create that type of response.” Which only leads makes me feel bad about myself. I typically challenge this one by discussing the situation with a few trusted individuals, who I know will give me an unbiased perspective. A note on this one, I always think it’s a good idea to reflect on my own actions, and to not automatically blame others. Self awareness is key… personalization goes beyond this though. It’s as if you feel the need to take responsibility for anything bad that happens. No bueno. Not fun. I realize that I can’t prevent bad things from happening, but what I can control is how I respond and interact with others. Beyond that, I can’t worry about it.

4. Magnification: In simple terms, blowing things out of proportion…. or, finding more significance in a situation than it warrants. Guilty of this one too….. which usually happens when I personalize (the one above). Taking a step back and re-evaluating the situation typically helps me bring things back to reality…. or at least to a middle point.

5. Should’ing Thoughts: These babies are those rules you give yourself about how the world should be and how people should act and how you should be. Whenever I find myself “should’ing” it’s pretty bad…. I’m usually let down, or feel as if I’ve failed in some way because I haven’t met a “should” standard. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to have values and standards… to not settle… but it’s when they are rigid that they become a problem. Example? When I look back on a long day with little miss, sometimes I find myself thinking, “Tomorrow I’ll try better, I should always be patient with her….” which leads to guilt… which leads to a whole other onslaught of entirely untrue thoughts. It’s not possible to be patient all the time…. getting a little frustrated is okay…. I haven’t broken a core parenting value of mine… and I certainly haven’t scarred my daughter for life. I always find “should’ing” thoughts lead to guilt…. and the best way to combat them is to ask myself “Is it really possible for that to happen all the time??” and “Is that really a fair expectation to have?”

6. Fortune Telling: If I could read the future, I’d have several houses spread across the world…. and wouldn’t live in our little condo. Seriously. Probably the one thought that holds me back from doing “things” is this one. The one where I give myself the ability to see the future. I remember when I was taking my licensing exam and saying, “I know I am going to fail, so many people fail, it’s going to happen.” Which only magnified an already anxious situation. For this one, I like to look at the facts. I can only deal with what I have in front of me. I know I prepared. I studied hard. I have relaxation tools I can draw from. Usually when I bring myself back to the present, and the facts, I can work through this one pretty quickly.
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(Outfit Details || Hoodie, also here (size up for looser fit) | Shorts (I sized up) | Tank | Sunglasses | Tumbler (I use it daily))

Comments

  1. Kristen says:

    I look forward to reading your blogs. Not just for your fashion, which I LOVE! Lol! I find your blogs to be very honest, and ones like this help me put important things into perspective. Thank you.

    • Shannon Pulsifer says:

      Thank you so much! I am never sure if that’s what people want, so feedback like this lets me know to keep it up! I am so glad that you find it helpful too! I’ve always had a little bit of an anxious mind, and these tricks have always helped. xx

  2. I loved this post! I can relate & I feel like sometimes negative thoughts snowball….I start thinking negatively about one area of my life or myself and then all of a sudden, EVERYTHING is horrible. Self awareness is good, but sometimes I overthink/over analyze & just getting some sun & fresh air always seem to bring me perspective! xx Emily | happilylindsey.com