Positive thinking for the New Year
by Joyce Dennison, Ph.D.
It’s a new year and the Weaver Mountains Health Initiative has some ideas for how positive changes could occur. Resolutions aside, it’s possible to take small steps to make your thinking more positive. Each of us is responsible for our own train of thoughts.
Cognitive therapists in mental health call it DISTORTED THINKING when that train of thinking is negative or self-defeating.
Here are some examples:
1. ALL or NOTHING THINKING
This black-and-white absolute thinking allows no change or movement. You box yourself in with an absolute category, and box in others with black and white judgments and labeling.
One negative event becomes a never ending pattern of self-defeat, as one incident becomes generalized to always.
3. NEGATIVE FILTERS
Dwelling on negative thoughts becomes a way to ignore the positive events, so that you only see the negatives, both about yourself and others too.
4. DISCOUNTING POSITIVES
This thinking insists that positive qualities don’t count, but negative thinking is the rule.
5. JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS
A lot like mind-reading, you may think things are bad even when there’s no specific evidence for it. You might assume that people are reacting negatively to you, and so jumping to the conclusion or prediction that things will go badly.
NEXT MONTH will bring 5 more distortions to work on with your thought train. If you want to read more, Dr. David Burns book Feeling Good gets credit for this theory and coming up with these distortions that all of us can work on changing. Cognitive behavioral psychology can be very helpful on changing the negative thinking.
Food for thought: What drains your spirit, drains your body. What fuels your spirit, fuels your body.