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Recognizing and dealing with 'Unhelpful thoughts'.

TaurusLady

TaurusLady

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 2, 2019
Messages
58
Location
Birmingham
Challenging unhelpful thoughts

The way that we think about things has an impact on our anxiety levels. Many of these thoughts occur outside of our control, and can be negative or unhelpful. It is therefore important to remember that they are just thoughts, without any real basis, and are not necessarily facts. Even though we may believe a lot of our unhelpful thoughts when we are anxious, it is good to remember that they should be questioned as they are often based on wrong assumptions.


Being judged negatively by others:
•They think I'm useless
•They won't like me
Being unable to cope: •I'll make a fool of myself
•I'm too anxious to manage that
•I'll have a panic attack
Something terrible happening: •What if I have an accident?
•What if I lose my job?

It is clear to see how this kind of thinking might make us anxious. Do you ever think in any of the ways outlined above?

Patterns of unhelpful thinking

First you need to be able to recognise an unhelpful thought. Then you can challenge it. Being aware of the common patterns that unhelpful thoughts follow can help you to recognise when you have them. Here are some of the common patterns that our unhelpful thoughts follow:



Predicting the Future:

When we are feeling anxious, it is common for us to spend a lot of time thinking about the future and predicting what could go wrong, rather than just letting things be. In the end most of our predictions don't happen and we have wasted time and energy being worried and upset about them. For example: • Assuming you will perform poorly at your job interview.
•Spending the week before an exam predicting you will fail, despite all your hard work studying and your previous good grades.

Mind Reading:

This means that you make assumptions about others' beliefs without having any real evidence to support them. For example: •My boss thinks I'm stupid.
•People think I'm weird.
Such ways of thinking naturally make us apprehensive.

Catastrophising:

People commonly 'catastrophise' when they are anxious, which basically means that they often blow things out of proportion. For example: •They assume that something that has happened is far worse than it really is (e.g. that their friend is going to dislike them because they cancelled a night out).
•They may think that something terrible is going to happen in the future, when, in reality, there is very little evidence to support it (e.g. I'm going to get into serious trouble for calling in sick).

Focusing on the Negatives:

Anxious people often have a tendency to focus on the negatives which keeps their anxiety going. For example: • They focus on the one person at work who doesn't like them, ignoring that they are very popular with the rest of their colleagues.



Should Statements:

People often imagine how they would like things to be or how they 'should be' rather than accepting how things really are. For example: •I should have got an A in History.
•I should never be anxious.
Unfortunately when we do this, we are simply applying extra pressure to ourselves that can result in anxiety. Instead it can sometimes help to accept that things can't always be perfect.
Over Generalising:

Based on one isolated incident you assume that all others will follow a similar pattern in the future. For example: • When enrolling on a college course, you meet a future classmate who you find irritating. As a result, you worry that everyone in the class will be the same and you won't make any friends.

What If Statements:

Have you ever wondered "what if" something bad happens? For example: •What if I have a panic attack at the party?
•What if I don't make friends when I start my new job?
This type of thought can often make us avoid going places or doing the things that we would like.

Labelling:

Do you find that you attach negative labels to yourself? For example: •I'm weak.
•I'm a waste of space.
•I'm always anxious.
Labels like these really influence how we see ourselves and can heighten our anxiety levels.

Patterns of unhelpful thinking

First you need to be able to recognise an unhelpful thought. Then you can challenge it. Being aware of the common patterns that unhelpful thoughts follow can help you to recognise when you have them.

Once you have recognised an unhelpful thought the next stage is to challenge it. To do this, you can ask yourself a serious of questions. See the example below:



Situation: The end of year exams are approaching.



How you feel: Nervous, stressed and apprehensive.


Unhelpful thought: I'll definitely fail my exams miserably!




Challenges to an unhelpful thought


Now you can challenge your unhelpful thoughts by asking these questions.


Is there any evidence that contradicts this thought?
•I've always done well in my previous exams.
•I've been scoring well in my coursework.

Can you identify any of the patterns of unhelpful thinking described earlier?
•I'm 'predicting the future'. I have no evidence to suggest I'll fail.

What would you say to a friend who had this thought in a similar situation?
•I'd say don't be silly, you've always done well. As long as you've studied hard, you should be fine. Besides, you can only try your best.

What are the costs and benefits of thinking in this way?
•Costs: It's making me feel sick with worry.
•Benefits: I can't really think of any.

How will you feel about this in 6 months time?
•I'll probably look back and laugh about how silly I was being.

Is there another way of looking at this situation?
•I've always done well in the past so I should be ok. I can only do my best anyway; after all I've studied hard. At worst, I'll just have to re-sit next year.

Once you have asked yourself these questions, you should read through your answers. Try to come up with a more balanced or rational view. For example:



Worrying about failing is doing me no good. I've always done well before so I should be fine, especially since I've prepared properly.

Try to apply these questions to the unhelpful thoughts that you notice. It can help to reduce your anxiety levels. You can use this technique to test your thoughts are realistic and balanced.

(MOODJUICE - Anxiety - Self-help Guide)

Thanks there!!

I have read this informing before from organisations who have supported me with my condition.
It is always good to read over and over again the facts that you need to be fully aware of..

xx
 
T

Turnitoffandonagain

Guest
I really can't make this sort of thing work for me. I found myself writing an _essay_ as to why but then felt it wasn't appropriate to post it here (or, possibly, anywhere). But it just has never made sense to me.
 
H

hello_there

Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2018
Messages
7
I get anxiety when traveling I travel a lot and further i go from home the more anxiety I get..
 
S

Sarabi_Gyarados

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 20, 2019
Messages
241
Location
UK
Thank you so much. I do nearly all of these cognitive distortions. Thank you for helping me to see things logically.
 
S

Sarabi_Gyarados

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 20, 2019
Messages
241
Location
UK
Relationships are my main trigger for ALL of these.
 
G

Georgina

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 4, 2019
Messages
157
Location
United Kingdom
It's what's being said to me that causes my anxiety all the threats daily they talk about hurting violently
 
A

AnxiousHan

Active member
Joined
Feb 6, 2020
Messages
31
Location
Brighton, England
I always challenge my thoughts, I find it so so hard to the point I’m having an argument in my own head! And if I’m in a state of panic attack there is no way I can reason with myself as I’m far too gone!
I did hear that if I straight up cancel out the negative thoughts and the what ifs( the what ifs are what I struggle the most with) - then I cancel out the fear. Which I have used a couple of times and have found helpful but i can’t seem to keep this up even though Idid only hear this yesterday
 
F

Faith7

Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2020
Messages
15
Location
south wales
I have a big problem when it comes to thoughts, I can not say to much about it as I feel it would be inappropriate for this forum but I have thoughts about females that I interact with and I end up getting into a situation where I end up falling in love with somebody and then feeling sick about my thoughts and the thought of being cheated on.
I get a similar thought pattern to this. I think it's important to stop these thoughts in their tracks by not worrying about what you've just thought because the more you get anxiety over it the more the thoughts become intrusive. Think of it like a bully if you ignore them they will stop. If that doesn't work speak kindly and confidently to yourself like say something like- that's not my real self that's not my desires I don't mean to think that it's not my fault it's intrusive thoughts, It's ok don't worry about it it will all be ok. ❤
 
J

jemarie

New member
Joined
Mar 23, 2020
Messages
2
Location
UK
I really identify with this. I catastrophize and constantly believe that others think nothing of me and I'm useless and in everyone's way. I shouldn't be here, no one wants me here. I'm always out of place. I automatically think that others think I'm worthless and don't want me there. I am in recovery for anorexia but still struggle with my anxiety and depression. Your post has made me realise at least I'm not the only one. Thank you
 
brokenbeauty

brokenbeauty

Active member
Joined
Mar 24, 2020
Messages
26
Location
USA
Loved this. Very helpful. I have always been catastrophising and having negative thoughts.
 
Emmers

Emmers

Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2020
Messages
7
Location
England
Challenging unhelpful thoughts

The way that we think about things has an impact on our anxiety levels. Many of these thoughts occur outside of our control, and can be negative or unhelpful. It is therefore important to remember that they are just thoughts, without any real basis, and are not necessarily facts. Even though we may believe a lot of our unhelpful thoughts when we are anxious, it is good to remember that they should be questioned as they are often based on wrong assumptions.


Being judged negatively by others:
•They think I'm useless
•They won't like me
Being unable to cope: •I'll make a fool of myself
•I'm too anxious to manage that
•I'll have a panic attack
Something terrible happening: •What if I have an accident?
•What if I lose my job?

It is clear to see how this kind of thinking might make us anxious. Do you ever think in any of the ways outlined above?

Patterns of unhelpful thinking

First you need to be able to recognise an unhelpful thought. Then you can challenge it. Being aware of the common patterns that unhelpful thoughts follow can help you to recognise when you have them. Here are some of the common patterns that our unhelpful thoughts follow:



Predicting the Future:

When we are feeling anxious, it is common for us to spend a lot of time thinking about the future and predicting what could go wrong, rather than just letting things be. In the end most of our predictions don't happen and we have wasted time and energy being worried and upset about them. For example: • Assuming you will perform poorly at your job interview.
•Spending the week before an exam predicting you will fail, despite all your hard work studying and your previous good grades.

Mind Reading:

This means that you make assumptions about others' beliefs without having any real evidence to support them. For example: •My boss thinks I'm stupid.
•People think I'm weird.
Such ways of thinking naturally make us apprehensive.

Catastrophising:

People commonly 'catastrophise' when they are anxious, which basically means that they often blow things out of proportion. For example: •They assume that something that has happened is far worse than it really is (e.g. that their friend is going to dislike them because they cancelled a night out).
•They may think that something terrible is going to happen in the future, when, in reality, there is very little evidence to support it (e.g. I'm going to get into serious trouble for calling in sick).

Focusing on the Negatives:

Anxious people often have a tendency to focus on the negatives which keeps their anxiety going. For example: • They focus on the one person at work who doesn't like them, ignoring that they are very popular with the rest of their colleagues.



Should Statements:

People often imagine how they would like things to be or how they 'should be' rather than accepting how things really are. For example: •I should have got an A in History.
•I should never be anxious.
Unfortunately when we do this, we are simply applying extra pressure to ourselves that can result in anxiety. Instead it can sometimes help to accept that things can't always be perfect.
Over Generalising:

Based on one isolated incident you assume that all others will follow a similar pattern in the future. For example: • When enrolling on a college course, you meet a future classmate who you
A few different ideas in this thread if you read through :)
Challenging unhelpful thoughts

The way that we think about things has an impact on our anxiety levels. Many of these thoughts occur outside of our control, and can be negative or unhelpful. It is therefore important to remember that they are just thoughts, without any real basis, and are not necessarily facts. Even though we may believe a lot of our unhelpful thoughts when we are anxious, it is good to remember that they should be questioned as they are often based on wrong assumptions.


Being judged negatively by others:
•They think I'm useless
•They won't like me
Being unable to cope: •I'll make a fool of myself
•I'm too anxious to manage that
•I'll have a panic attack
Something terrible happening: •What if I have an accident?
•What if I lose my job?

It is clear to see how this kind of thinking might make us anxious. Do you ever think in any of the ways outlined above?

Patterns of unhelpful thinking

First you need to be able to recognise an unhelpful thought. Then you can challenge it. Being aware of the common patterns that unhelpful thoughts follow can help you to recognise when you have them. Here are some of the common patterns that our unhelpful thoughts follow:



Predicting the Future:

When we are feeling anxious, it is common for us to spend a lot of time thinking about the future and predicting what could go wrong, rather than just letting things be. In the end most of our predictions don't happen and we have wasted time and energy being worried and upset about them. For example: • Assuming you will perform poorly at your job interview.
•Spending the week before an exam predicting you will fail, despite all your hard work studying and your previous good grades.

Mind Reading:

This means that you make assumptions about others' beliefs without having any real evidence to support them. For example: •My boss thinks I'm stupid.
•People think I'm weird.
Such ways of thinking naturally make us apprehensive.

Catastrophising:

People commonly 'catastrophise' when they are anxious, which basically means that they often blow things out of proportion. For example: •They assume that something that has happened is far worse than it really is (e.g. that their friend is going to dislike them because they cancelled a night out).
•They may think that something terrible is going to happen in the future, when, in reality, there is very little evidence to support it (e.g. I'm going to get into serious trouble for calling in sick).

Focusing on the Negatives:

Anxious people often have a tendency to focus on the negatives which keeps their anxiety going. For example: • They focus on the one person at work who doesn't like them, ignoring that they are very popular with the rest of their colleagues.



Should Statements:

People often imagine how they would like things to be or how they 'should be' rather than accepting how things really are. For example: •I should have got an A in History.
•I should never be anxious.
Unfortunately when we do this, we are simply applying extra pressure to ourselves that can result in anxiety. Instead it can sometimes help to accept that things can't always be perfect.
Over Generalising:

Based on one isolated incident you assume that all others will follow a similar pattern in the future. For example: • When enrolling on a college course, you meet a future classmate who you find irritating. As a result, you worry that everyone in the class will be the same and you won't make any friends.

What If Statements:

Have you ever wondered "what if" something bad happens? For example: •What if I have a panic attack at the party?
•What if I don't make friends when I start my new job?
This type of thought can often make us avoid going places or doing the things that we would like.

Labelling:

Do you find that you attach negative labels to yourself? For example: •I'm weak.
•I'm a waste of space.
•I'm always anxious.
Labels like these really influence how we see ourselves and can heighten our anxiety levels.

Patterns of unhelpful thinking

First you need to be able to recognise an unhelpful thought. Then you can challenge it. Being aware of the common patterns that unhelpful thoughts follow can help you to recognise when you have them.

Once you have recognised an unhelpful thought the next stage is to challenge it. To do this, you can ask yourself a serious of questions. See the example below:



Situation: The end of year exams are approaching.



How you feel: Nervous, stressed and apprehensive.


Unhelpful thought: I'll definitely fail my exams miserably!




Challenges to an unhelpful thought


Now you can challenge your unhelpful thoughts by asking these questions.


Is there any evidence that contradicts this thought?
•I've always done well in my previous exams.
•I've been scoring well in my coursework.

Can you identify any of the patterns of unhelpful thinking described earlier?
•I'm 'predicting the future'. I have no evidence to suggest I'll fail.

What would you say to a friend who had this thought in a similar situation?
•I'd say don't be silly, you've always done well. As long as you've studied hard, you should be fine. Besides, you can only try your best.

What are the costs and benefits of thinking in this way?
•Costs: It's making me feel sick with worry.
•Benefits: I can't really think of any.

How will you feel about this in 6 months time?
•I'll probably look back and laugh about how silly I was being.

Is there another way of looking at this situation?
•I've always done well in the past so I should be ok. I can only do my best anyway; after all I've studied hard. At worst, I'll just have to re-sit next year.

Once you have asked yourself these questions, you should read through your answers. Try to come up with a more balanced or rational view. For example:



Worrying about failing is doing me no good. I've always done well before so I should be fine, especially since I've prepared properly.

Try to apply these questions to the unhelpful thoughts that you notice. It can help to reduce your anxiety levels. You can use this technique to test your thoughts are realistic and balanced.

(MOODJUICE - Anxiety - Self-help Guide)
This is the exact reason I joined this forum. I was beginning to feel like it was just me that had such strong irrational and overpowering thoughts. Finding this post at the top of the thread has made me feel positive and ready to start to battle these feelings. Thank you for this.
 
Scapes1986

Scapes1986

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 10, 2020
Messages
1,702
Location
Planet Mercury
There are a lot of things about anxiety that are unheard of. That's what makes us so anxious. Will my phone bill get paid if I spent this? What if my meds change? Working these steps can be helpful. I should take time to do this guide, but as I've run out of ideas to coincide with my mental anxiety I feel as though I'm tired. Recovery is about recovering. Not working so hard you become tired. I've come up with a few steps of my own. They involve embracement and excitement. It's still new but these could potentially be a source of help with these self guided. I haven't read your whole guide, but I'm going to. It sounds like something up my alley, that's worth reading. I have started one of my own. A mental health awareness guide. It embraces the power of saying no and working on self guilt and shame. As well as staying healthy. So Good luck with writing more. And Take care
 
Scapes1986

Scapes1986

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 10, 2020
Messages
1,702
Location
Planet Mercury
I've reread these steps. My favorite part says " what if I dont make friends starting a new job." Its insightful. I've heard some if these steps before!
 
T

timi0000

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
47
Location
Pittsburgh
To help deal with unwarranted negative thoughts, I would strongly recommend meditating on your breath. Focus on the breath as it comes in and out of your nostrils. This really helped me with my anxiety.

Also, check out the book "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle. His concept of focusing on the "inner body awareness" helped me immeasurably.

Just remember, you're reading the book so that you can apply the information he is talking about, not just gaining an intellectual understanding. If you just read it and don't apply it, the book won't do you any good.
 
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