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Unhelpful Thinking

Do you allow negativity to get in the way – whether it is your own negativity or those around you? We know it’s difficult when this happens. Self-doubt creeps back in doesn’t it?


You can’t be responsible for others - how they behave or what they say. You do however have a choice on how you react to it. Would it help you to identify these unhelpful thinking styles? If you did – whether this was within yourself or others – you can then start to challenge or distance yourself from those thoughts and see the situation / others in a different and more helpful way.


Thoughts have an impact on our emotions/feelings and our behaviours. Thoughts can be incorrect, erroneous and inaccurate. Negative and unrealistic patterns of thinking can give rise to emotional disorders such as anxiety, stress and depression.


Altering these negative unhelpful thought patterns can reduce emotional disturbance and distress.


Most thoughts are automatic; they pass through our mind fleetingly. When a person is emotionally distressed the proportion of negative automatic thoughts increases.

Most of what we do is automatic or habitual (a habit). Think about driving a car or washing a dish or turning on the TV, we don’t think about the action, it’s automatic. When we are learning a new process we concentrate on it, practice it until it becomes natural; a habit. Automatic thoughts can be words, an image, a memory, a physical sensation, an imagined sound, or based on intuition – a sense of just knowing.


Sometimes our automatic thoughts can go unnoticed and usually they go unquestioned. Learning to monitor thoughts is an essential part of the programme. As obvious as these surface thoughts can be. It does take practice to capture them. Regular thought monitoring helps us notice our negative/unhelpful thoughts more easily.

I have included a list of all the unhelpful thinking styles (top right of the page). Which do you identify with?

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