When stress becomes a disorder it causes a shift in ‘thinking’ and the lens you evaluate the world through (how you explain the world to yourself) distorts – either low, moderate or high. You’re not making everything up, you’re not seeing pink unicorns, but your filter goes gray and veers towards an exaggeration of the negative and dramatic.
Do you think your lens is somewhat ‘off’? Are you defaulting to negative thinking habits? Fix it: build awareness of your self talk, and manage it by undistorting it with evidence based reframing. Change your mind, change your mood.
Here is a quick table of the top ‘bad thinking habits’. Overdramatic thoughts cause overdramatic feelings and behaviours… Name them and tame them – all humans have the below occasional habits, but when stress becomes a disorder we are pretty much doing them all the time: Consider: what is the evidence for these statements? Is there any evidence against them? How does believing them make you feel and behave? Is it rational? AND USE YOUR ANSWERS TO REFRAME!
|Negative Predicting:||Negative mind-reading:||Catastrophising:||Musts and Shoulds:|
|I could try, but it won’t work out
I could go, but I won’t enjoy it
I’ll never be a success.
|She thinks she’s better than me.
He doesn’t like me.
My partner doesn’t fancy me.
|Everything is awful.
I’m fat / ugly.
It’s too hard.
|I should look fantastic always.
I must be successful.
You should respect and like me.
Words matter. What you say to yourself matters. Try this starter exercise: check out these classic negative automatic thoughts examples. Do they fit into any of the classic bad thinking habit styles? Can you reshape them into a more realistic and rational and cool wording? And then can you catch your own thinking and apply reframing to that? Sure you can… good luck!
|I can’t cope.|
|Everything is too hard.|
|She’s a horrible person, she’s so jealous of me.|
|How dare he behave like that, I won’t stand for it!|
|That would never work out, so there’s no point in trying.|
|Nobody really respects me, my voice doesn’t matter here.|
|There’s too much to do, I can’t manage…|
|If only I was beautiful everything would be perfect!|
|If I was skinny everything would be so different…|
|My colleagues are so selfish, and they’d stab you in the back!|
|My boss made my head explode!|
|I can’t bear it!|
|I’m not nice.|
|I’m not good enough.|
Download this CBT handout as a PDF: CBTAFG_IsYourLensOffHandout