As humans, we are prone to making different types of self-defeating thinking errors. These thinking errors are definitely made worse for those of us who have anxiety. In the infographic below, we summarized the top 5 thinking errors that personally plague us! These were adapted from David Burn’s book “Feeling Good the New Mood Therapy”. For us, we know we are more prone to falling for these thinking errors during moments of high stress in our life. Things like changes in family, living situation, work stability can all cause us great stress and make our anxiety worse. To help combat these thinking errors, we are sharing 5 things that we will be doing when we have these thinking errors. The goal here is to be ready with self-love practices, self-care ideas and prepare to be kind to ourselves. Hopefully, these may benefit you as well!
1. Speak to yourself as if you were a friend
How many times have you talked a friend or family member through one of these thinking errors? When we hear what they are upset about, we immediately wish they would be kinder to themselves. Whether it was a slight mess up at work or something they think they said wrong. As their friends, we want them to practice more self-love and recognize that it’s not the end of the world and that they are still the same amazing person they were and are. We would never add to their negative thoughts and speak to them unkindly or pile on! The key here is to allow yourself the same kindness. Speak to yourself as if you were that friend. Reason with yourself using the voice and care of a friend. You’ll have a much kinder way of speaking to yourself and be able to better see the truth.
2. Choose positive words
Self-dialogue is extremely important to self-care and kindness. When we speak, language and words can have such a powerful impact on how we view ourselves. Many times, we choose negative words or a style of speaking that does not provide any affirmations. Personally, this has an impact on our minds and feeds into our negative self-views. We’re not saying you need to be all sunshine and roses 24/7, but you should allow yourself more kindness and forgiveness. Some examples from our own lives include:
- We say “wow, I wasted a whole day doing nothing”
- Instead, we will say “I’m glad I was able to use this day to recharge, now I’m ready to do anything tomorrow”
- We say “wow, why did I say that, how could I make that mistake”
- Instead, we will say “well, that wasn’t the best choice of words, but I learned and I know I’ll be a better person because of it”
Remember to see and speak positively to yourself. Mistakes are ok, but you have to forgive yourself as well! We’re all human and we’re never going to be perfect, so don’t allow your mind to tell you otherwise.
3. Allow yourself to see the whole picture
This one can be hard, because in the heat of the moment, especially when we are catastrophizing, we can only see the worst-case scenario. However, it’s important to recognize that you are spending a lot of energy on the negative and that you should allow some of that energy to go towards seeing the best case and middle ground. Throughout our own lives, we’ve seen in most cases that the middle ground is most likely to happen. As an example, a friend can text you “can we talk”. Immediately, we begin to think that they hate us and don’t want to be our friend. We get a sinking feeling in our stomach and begin to imagine everything we’ve said wrong. Most of the time, we don’t allow ourselves to think of any alternatives because our minds are so focused.
Best case, they may be calling to say they won an all-paid vacation for the both of you! Middle ground, they probably just want to talk about what the group should do that weekend. These thoughts are hard to have when you are in the middle of catastrophizing. One thing to recognize here is that it’s easy to unintentionally cause anxiety! Additionally, when these moments happen, we like to use grounding techniques to get us out of the immediate bad thought. In the brief moment of clarity, we then use that respite to force ourselves to think through the good and middle grounds. Just remember to allow yourself the kindness of seeing the whole picture.
4. Lean on others
This one is huge on our mental health, especially when we catastrophize, mind read or personalize. We need to lean on others in order to recognize that the reality is not as bad as our mind wants us to believe. As sufferers of OCD, we have like to say that our rationality cannot beat our irrationality alone. We use tools to help us fight back, and a great asset are your friends, family and loved ones. You may find it hard to speak to yourself as a friend, but they will easily be able speak to you in this way. When you can’t beat your own intrusive thoughts, they can assure you and help you. Rarely is anything as bad as we think it is and sometimes it takes an outside perspective to make us realize this. If you have a hard time sharing with those closest to you, we would highly recommend you find a therapist as they can be extremely helpful! If you aren’t looking for a professional, but a peer group of likeminded people, feel free to join our Facebook group family. We create a safe space to support one another as friends and we would love to have you.
5. Keep a journal
If you’ve been following us, you know how important journaling is to our mental health. Journaling helps us get our thoughts out on paper and it helps us really think with intent on what we are saying. This can be instrumental when trying to speak kindly to yourself. Write out your internal dialogue and recognize when you need to allow yourself more kindness. Additionally, journals are great logs of your life, and you can use them to keep reminders about what you like about yourself or things you have done well. Further, keep logs of texts from friends and family when they remind you of how great you are! All of these things can serve as great reminders when you have negative thoughts. The more easily accessible these memories are, the better off we will be when we need them. If you need help getting started, you can check out our article on how we consistently keep a journal.
Practicing self-love and self-care is difficult. It’s a lot easier to fall into the trap of the thinking errors. Just remember that these are thinking errors and that we need to allow ourselves more forgiveness. For those of us with mental health issues, this takes a lot of practice and self-awareness. Our resolution and goal for this year is to be more kind to ourselves, we hope you join us on this mental wellness journey! Do you have any tips on how to avoid thinking errors? Also, if you need a reminder of how great you are, you can see our open letter to those of us with anxiety and depression. Remember, we love you so you should love yourself!
As humans, we fall into common thinking errors that are self-defeating and anxiety inducing. To combat this, we need to have an awareness of the types of errors as well as self-kindness practices to combat the negative with positive.
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As an added bonus for our readers, we like to include a game of where are the Tomodotchi Pets. They’ve been hidden in 2 of the pictures within this post. Can you find them all? See below for what they look like!