Hard to imagine when we are in the negative cycle, but we do have power over our anxiety. We have the power to filter out the unnecessary negative thoughts before they become beliefs and behaviors. Similarly, we can reverse back some of the negative effects of prior thoughts (which have already turned into beliefs).
Sounds daunting doesn’t it? I promise that it gets easier with practice. Taking this strategy one step at a time can prove to be very helpful. We start by observing the thought and allowing other conclusions. For instance, if the thought was “I’m the worst employee” then we can consider alternative results by looking at the evidence. 1) I have only been late once 2) I never got negative feedback from my supervisor 3) I’ve been promoted within the last few years. Looking at the evidence, we can see that the original concern was a cognitive distortion (check in next week for a post on the different types of cognitive distortions).
Still sound like a lot? That’s okay. This process might feel hard or awkward at first. It’s trying to undo some thoughts that we may have had our whole lifetime. Keep practicing and I’m sure you will get it. If you’re ready to start the process, contact a psychotherapist in your service area.
Megan Bowling, M.A., LMFT
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