Negative thinking is one of the biggest obstacles we face in experiencing more happiness but there’s hope. Here are two strategies based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to defeat your negative thinking. The first is to distract. When you’re heading into a social gathering and you begin to wonder, “What if I don’t connect with anyone?” “Am I even likeable?” Do something that lifts your mood. Generating a positive emotion will counteract the anxiety you feel. Listen to a song that makes you smile or take a moment to appreciate people in your life who love you. Positive emotions literally undo the effects of anxiety by lowering our heart rate and muscle tension. We often believe that our negative thinking is true but in reality our minds feed us messages that range from mild embellishments to outright lies. Here, we might prefer to combat. Imagine yourself in court. You are the prosecutor and your negative thought is the defendant. He’s guilty and you know it, but he’s pleading not guilty and sticking to his story. Your task is to get the judge to hear your side so when the negative thought shouts out, “You’re not good enough at your job.” You need to consult the evidence you have at your disposal to prove it wrong. Argue back with the strongest piece of evidence you can find. For example, I am good enough because every performance review I’ve had has been positive. I’m currently being considered for that promotion and my boss told me last week how much she enjoys working with me. Bring your best version of a tough lawyer to that courtroom and convince the judge that the negative thought doesn’t deserve his or her attention. After all, the judge is you. Both of these strategies, distract and combat, are skills anyone can learn and get better at with practice. Remember, with each negative thought you defeat you’ve successfully earned your own happiness.
- Watch Video
- Answer Question