Cognitive distortions

Many of our thoughts throughout the day pop up randomly usually distorted in some way. Maybe they are unrealistically negative or leave out some vital information. The result is usually a negative shift in mood. Can you think of a recent thought that just popped up like (“I’m a failure”, “I’m so dumb”)?

It is possible that we have these thoughts so frequently that they are easily not even noticeable. We usually do notice these thoughts when we feel angry, sad or even anxious. The purpose for this post is to challenge  you to learn how to identify with some of the common cognitive distortions and replace these thoughts more based on reality.

Catastrophes– This is the thought that we can predict the final outcome of a situation or event. this thought is usually the worst case scenario without thinking of other probable outcomes.

Discounting positives– This is when we tell ourselves the positive things events or attributes don’t count.  Example: “I may have did it well, but that doen’t mean I’m good at it. I just got lucky”

All or nothing– So I’m sure we know this one. The looking at everything as Black or White with no gray area or in between. How does everything only fit in two categories. “I’m either a success or a total faiure.” 

Labeling– This is the generalized label on ourselves or others without considering there may be some other information that could lead to a less disastrous conclusion. (“She is a bad person”, “I’m such a loner”)

Mental Filter– This is a sort of mental abstraction. We pay full focus on one negative detail rather than thinking of the big picture. (Because part of the date was bad, it was a total failure)

Personalizing– This is when we think other are acting a certain way because of us without thinking of other probable causes for their behavior. Example: “He didn’t smile at me when I walked by, he must be mad at me.”

“Should” and “must” statements: This is when we have precise and fixated idea on how we or other people should behave. Overestimating how bad it would be if these expectations are not met. Example: “Its terrible that I made a mistake. I should have done better.” 

We all think this way from time to time. When reading these we can begin to realize there are more adaptive ways of thinking about ourselves, events, and others. The “worst”  case scenario rarely ever comes true. The fear  of the worst case scenario can be debilitating. Once we begin to identify with our cognitive distortions we come up with more realistic thought pattern. When we start to realize there are other possibilities of scenarios it get easier to loosen up. Practice catching yourself with some automatic thought patterns and brain storm multiple possibilities. Notice the array of feelings that come about when brainstorming. Than ask yourself what was the type distortion or thought pattern that influenced that feeling. Is it rational? Is it realistic? Is it true? Is it likely?

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Fair in conflict

Always remain calm– by remaining calm others will be more likely to consider your viewpoint. Hostility, loud tone, and anger will cause escalation.

Be Specific- Sometimes writing it down before addressing it can be easier to narrow down to the real issue at hand, vague complaints can be hard to work on.

Express feelings with words, not actions – Expressing how you truly feel in words can be a very powerful form of communication. If you feel your self getting angry take a “time out”. Go back to subject once calm so the issue doesn’t become flooded later or turn into resentment.

Deal with one issue at a time-Don’t introduce anything else until the topic has been fully discussed. Allow the topic to be resolved before making another complaint. Try not to get off topic and keep focus on a resolution.

Not below the belt- Attacking sensitive areas creates distrust and anger. Don’t bring of the past in order to use it against them as if in attack mode. No insults or embarrassing topics in the middle of a fight. Don’t compare the worst traits in people such as, “your just like you mother.”

Avoid attacks and accusations– You can do this using “I feel ____, when_____ , because________.” Avoid start ups with “you_____”. Don’t assume the “why”. Instead talk about how you felt and the why may just come up. “when _______ occurs, I feel ________. Its unhealthy to questions someone love, faithfulness, and intentions when your feelings have been hurt.

No Name calling and crude language – This is pretty self explanatory. Belittling and cursing are out of bounds for a caring relationship.

Don’t generalize- Don’t use words like “never” or “always”. In the heat of the moment are usually inaccurate terms.

Avoid exaggerations– This prevents from establishing a resolution. Creating events or feelings to try to prove a point only will escalate a conflict. It will negatively effect your credibility with the person. Stick with the fact and your honest feelings.

Avoid clamming up-When one person stops responding to another in the moment, it only creates more anger and frustration. It communicates rejection. Positive outcome can only happen with a two way communication.

No Stockpiling- No keeping track and storing up hurt or negative feelings over time. This is so counter productive. Its impossible to deal with a bunch of old problems and they differ over time. Just deal as they arise.

Unfair to ignore something someone else feels is important – Another form of rejection. Just because something is not important to you, doesn’t mean they are invalid. It communicates that you do not value the other person enough to address a issue. Loving people address all areas of concern even if uncomfortable or disagree.


Coexist

We will find a pathway to convey all this word play, feels like we are moons away.

Remember this is forever.

Under pressure, come together or surrender.

Whats the point of going down a one way street on repeat, feeling defeat.

Forever a reflection of progression and affection when we talk about connection.

Forevers give and take. Its eternal honor. Forever can persist, if we choose to be stronger, concur and coexist.

A. Best

Truth 2

Thought i had i beat woke up realizing I am not a machine.

Im a human being.

Feelings demand address, lets put this to the test. Thoughts out of my head. All that I dread. Wont take me.

Had an epiphany. I’m more than a wife, mother, daughter. I’m a fighter, survior.

I walk through the fire on high wire. To get what I desire. That’s how i inspire.

I’ll apply, whats inside. So I can thrive. To stay alive.

Copywrite A. Best

Marriage & Friendship

Stop Trying to Fix Your Partner’s Feelings

Behind every dispute is a deep personal desire. When a partner can accept this, it becomes easier to make the decision to be empathetic instead of taking your partner’s complaints personal and defending yourself.

A lot of times feelings surface due to triggers. Its helps to truly know and understand your partner a avoid many conflicts. Do you know and understand your triggers and your partners triggers?

When we are triggered, all of our senses are intensified and we are reminded, consciously or subconsciously, of a previous life event. Our brains become wired to react to these triggers, usually surpassing logical, rational thought and going straight into a conditioned “fight-or-flight” response.

Instead of trying to fix or change the feelings of the person you love, focus on connecting with them. What makes something better is connection. Validating your partner’s perspective doesn’t require you to abandon your own. Empathy shows that you understand why they have those feelings and needs. When you listen for your partner’s feelings with your whole being, it becomes a lot easier to understand their perspective. Relate to the visual of a hurt partner being down in a dark hole, because I know when I am feeling sad or upset, I feel like I’m alone in a pit of pain.


A humans core needs are not negotiable. What do I need to feel happy, fulfilled and secure? Can you meet my needs? What do you need? Can I meet yours? Relationships as Dr. Gottman puts relationships require a solid friendship and foundation of trust. Communication and compromise are crucial.

Finding your outlet

Music was always my outlet. I loved singing songs I could relate with my own pain. Maybe it was my way of embarrassing my true feelings. One day I was inspired to write my own lyrics. Come to find out I wasn’t bad at it. Haven’t ever stopped writing since. I found a way to get my thoughts out even if no one was listening. Of course, the thought of them not being understood is annoying, but not as annoying as the words replaying in my head. Exploiting them feels powerful. What I mean by finding a outlet is not finding a distraction. We have plenty of those in life. What I mean is finding something that allows us to process and express the feelings. They say, “the only way out is through.” Pick up a sport or go to the gym. Gym is another great outlet for myself. I’m not big on meditation but even just being outside alone with your own thoughts is close enough. Clearing you mind requires you to deal with yourself. Outlets boost your mood, lower stress, give a sense of accomplishments, increase mindfulness and in turn makes us happier people.

Boundaries

looking out for you

Saying “no” is ok if its against your opinions, values, and needs. Boundaries protect and define us. Setting boundaries leads to better relationships. By setting boundaries you are showing what you allow or are comfortable with. Tune into you feeling and being honest is a step to setting boundaries. Realize that others personal needs and feelings are not more important than you own. Don’t let anything or anyone else define you. First we must know what we want, give yourself permission to ask for it or say, “No”.  Ask without an apology, we must let go of guilt. Why feel guilty for being who you are?

Know when its a unsolvable situation and continual conflict. All problems have a solution. If setting your limits don’t work it may be time to walk away. Once we let go of a situation we tell our self is a “problem” and its really just a unavoidable conflict we can better focus our energy on real problems with real solutions.

  Don’t sacrifice yourself for others.