Many people are not aware of the negative energy brought on by toxic thinking. The cycle of negative thinking can result in anxiety about little things which results in more things going wrong and can quickly spiral out of control. Learn about the role of toxic thinking and how to combat the hold it can have on a person’s life.
Effects of Negative Thinking
Distorted thoughts reinforce negative ways of behaving and thinking. A person may practice self talk which rationalizes and sounds accurate but in reality it only serves to make a person feel bad about personal failings. The following cognitive distortions may be holding a person back from thinking more positively:
- Filtering. The process of taking negative details and magnifying those while filtering positive aspects of the situation. For instance, a flat tire can become representative of how an entire day went wrong rather than focus on all the other positive things and dwelling on the one negative occurrence.
- Black and white thinking. Also known as ‘all-or-nothing’ thinking. The perfectionist mentality can result in a person feeling like a failure when expectations are not met. Balance may be difficult for a person with this type of thinking.
- Overgeneralization. Thinking becomes focused on the past rather than the future. If a person tries something and fails, it may result in thinking failure will result everytime something new is tried. A single incident becomes evidence of failure and reinforces patterns of defeat.
- Jumping to conclusions. Thinking a person is in a bad mood because of something another individual said or did. Without searching for truth, the worst is assumed and conclusions formed about oneself.
- Catastrophizing. A person will expect the worst no matter what the circumstances. This individual will always question what-if’s in life rather than remain in the present. This can lead to a person not doing anything in life because the worst case scenario is always around the corner.
- Fallacy of fairness. An individual will track deeds done and, when not returned, will feel resentful and think life is not fair.
- Blaming. A person will hold others responsible for feeling poorly. Nobody makes a person feel a certain way and this puts blame on others rather than owning one’s own feelings.
- Emotional reasoning. This mentality is focused on how a person feels and extrapolates to one’s entire life. If a person feels stupid and depressed, then the person IS stupid and depressed which forms unhealthy emotions around who a person is rather than feelings (which fluctuate).
Cognitive distortions are not healthy as the focus is on distorted, irrational ways of thinking. Learn to understand a healthy style of thinking to shift negative thoughts. Awareness is critical and if a person is struggling, therapists and counselors can help a person see what is unseen and develop strategies for positive change.
How a person feels about themselves is important in the recovery process. If you or a loved one are struggling to see what is good and positive, it may be time for a change. Hired Power can help by providing support and assistance in recovering from toxic life events and addiction.