Everyone has negative thoughts. The brain is actually hard wired for negative thoughts. Negative thoughts are important, they keep you safe. These are the thoughts that remind you not to walk down dark alleys, eat things you are not familiar with, or approach wild animals.
Unfortunately one negative thought leads to another. The scenario goes something like this. “Did she just give me a dirty look?” “I know she doesn’t like me.” ” She is probably telling people lies about me.” “What is she telling my boss?!” ” Now I am going to loss my job!” ” And my apartment!” “And I’ll never get another good job!” “I’ll have to move home to my parents!” Now you are in a bathroom stall, crying, and thinking about suicide. All because someone gave the person behind you a dirty look.
Negative thoughts are like unruly children if left unsupervised. You need to give them your attention. Don’t try to push them away they will just pop up again.
- Acknowledge the negative thought.
- Analyze the thoughts. Examine to see is this a real threat. What is it all about? You may find that you can let it go now and move on.
- Dispute the negative thoughts. Not all negative thoughts are true. What is true? Is it true that NOBODY likes you, NO ONE EVER has, and NO ONE EVER will. Can the opinion of the receptionist really get you fired? If someone doesn’t like you does that mean EVERYONE else will have the same opinion? You ALWAYS fail at EVERYTHING. You do EVERYTHING wrong. If you lose your job you’ll NEVER get another. In other words argue with your negative thoughts.
- Did you discover in this investigation of the negative thought that there is something you need to attend to that is causing the fear? Attend to it soonest.
- Now get up and get your hands busy doing something that needs done. This part is important. It creates a stopping point. Analyzing a negative thought all day isn’t helpful, it is just the same trap. You should only invest a few minutes to the process.
If you start using this process you will still have negative thoughts. Why? Because they are normal and you are human. However, you will have less trouble with them and less depressive moments.