Most of us have maladaptive thinking habits that lead us into anxiety, depression or substance use. It’s based on our environment and how we learned to think based on the family, social, economic, ethic, religious and political background that we grew up within. We get stuck in the unhealthy thinking habits and we get stuck in a loop.
- What drives the old habits of thinking:
- Living on automatic pilot instead of awareness and conscious choice
- Relating to experiences through thought rather than direct sensing
- Dwelling on and in the past and future rather than being fully in the present moment
- Trying to avoid, escape, or get rid of unpleasant experiences rather than approach it with interest
- Needing things to be different from how they are rather than allowing them to just be as they already are.
- Seeing thoughts as true and real rather than as mental events that may or may not correspond to reality.
- Treating oneself harshly and unkindly rather than taking care of oneself with kindness and compassion.
(Segal, Williams & Teasdale, 2013, p. 89)
Keeping these thinking habits can lead to worse habit forming behaviors. It becomes a coping mechanism for some and a way to stop progressing for others. Whenever you are struck into a loop of negative thinking, positive can change things around. Although thinking positively is easier said than done. Minor adjustments can help break a negative cycle such as:
- Change and observe your body language
- Talk it out
- Take a walk
- Spend one minute of meditation
- Have a cup of tea
- Positive affitmations
By LPC-Intern, Karen Limme
Quotes on Thoughts:
“Thoughts are not facts.”
(Segal, Williams & Teasdale, 2013, p. 164)
“A thought is a mental event containing a seed of reality surrounded by a shell of inference”
(Segal, Williams & Teasdale, 2013, p. 313)
“If we can observe in ourselves the toxicity of certain beliefs, thought patterns, and behaviors as they arise in the moment, then we can work to lessen their hold on us.”
(Kabat-Zinn, 1990, p. 217)
Kabat-Zinn, J. (1990). Full catastrophe living: Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness (15th anniversary ed.): New York: Delta Trade Paperback/Bantam Dell.
Segal, Z., Williams, M., & Teasdale, J. (2013) Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression. New York: Guilford Press.