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Thinking Traps

Unhelpful thoughts can trigger feelings of anxiety. This way of thinking is a cognitive distortion and can often spiral out of control this is known as a thinking trap.  Here are  4 tips from the Mental Health ] America for getting out of thinking traps.

Tips For Challenging Negative Thoughts

Reframe. Think of a different way to view the situation. If your negative thought is “I can’t do anything right,” a kinder way to reframe it is, “I messed up, but nobody’s perfect,” or a more constructive thought is “I messed up, but now I know to prepare more for next time.” It can be hard to do this when you’re feeling down on yourself, so ask yourself what you’d tell your best friend if they were saying those things about themselves.
Prove yourself wrong. The things you do impact how you feel – what actions can you take to combat your negative thoughts? For instance, if you’re telling yourself you aren’t smart because you don’t understand how the stock market works, learn more about a subject you understand and enjoy, like history. If you feel like no one cares about you, call a friend. Give yourself evidence that these thoughts aren’t entirely true.
Counter negative thoughts with positive ones. When you catch your inner dialogue being mean to you, make yourself say something nice to balance it out. This may feel cheesy at ÿrst and self-love can be hard, so don’t give up if it feels awkward in the beginning. Name things you love, like, or even just don’t hate about yourself – we all have to start somewhere!
Remember: thoughts aren’t facts. Your thoughts and feelings are valid, but they aren’t always reality. You might feel ugly, but that doesn’t mean you are. Often times we can be our own worst enemies – other people are seeing us in a much nicer light than how we see ourselves.

 

MBWCF members can click on the photo below to watch a short video from our mobile EAP partner Lifeworks to learn more about thinking traps and what to do about them.