How To Break The Cycle Of Negative Thinking - Deepstash

How To Break The Cycle Of Negative Thinking

Talk to someone.

As you voice your thoughts and feelings to someone you trust, you may find yourself re-thinking your opinion as you speak.

And even if not, you give that person the chance to give valuable feedback, to put on their “glasses” for a minute. In other words, they help you see the situation through their eyes, which can help you to reassess your own thoughts and feelings.

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MORE IDEAS FROM Emotionally Intelligent People Use This Simple Psychological Trick to Shift Their Perspective and Control Their Emotions

Fill your mind with positive thoughts.

Negative feelings like self-doubt and self-pity can quickly spiral out of control. Focusing on positive thoughts can help you find balance.

For example, Ben could make a list of potential positive consequences from losing his job:

  • finding a new job he enjoys more than his previous one
  • having time to reconnect with family or friends

By focusing on these positive results, Ben can form an approach that's more optimistic, yet still realistic. It won't completely eliminate the negative feelings, but it can help keep them in their place.

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Ben has just lost his job. He’s devastated.

"What am I going to do now?" he asks.

He falls asleep at night, swimming in a sea of negative emotions.

In the morning, he wakes up distraught. "This stuff always happen to me," he thinks. "I have the worst luck." Ben's negative thoughts feed themselves. They create a raging storm in his head, preventing him from starting his new job search--or doing anything else productive.

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Amy has the exact same fate and initial reaction to Ben.

She also wakes up in the morning with a knot in her stomach. But her response is different: She takes control or her thoughts and changes her perspective:

"That job was never going to take me anywhere," she thinks. "I'm sure I can find something better. Better yet, I've been wanting to go out on my own for ages. Maybe this is the jumpstart I need."

"Losing this job will be the best thing that's ever happened to me."

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The technique of changing your glasses is rooted in principles of cognitive psychology.

In the 1950s, psychologist Albert Ellis taught that irrational thinking is the root cause for many emotional problems. For example, irrational beliefs lead to unhealthy emotional consequences, like self-sabotage.

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Despite facing similar situations, Amy's reaction is much more beneficial. By exercising emotional intelligence, she's able to change the way she views her circumstances. This simple perspective shift allows her to get her emotions under control, leading her to also take control of the situation.

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Write it down.

Putting your thoughts in writing--with actual pen and paper, not just typing--can be a powerful way to force yourself to reckon with your feelings.

For example, let's imagine Ben takes some time to describe his feelings on paper. He may believe that he is truly unlucky and there's no chance he'll find another job. But the simple process of writing these thoughts can help him slow down, think, and re-evaluate the validity of those thoughts.

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People who wear glasses know that a change in prescription is sometimes required, to allow them to see more clearly.

Sometimes, we need to do the same thing mentally: Your thoughts and emotions may cloud your vision and judgment. When that's the case, you need to change your glasses: that is, change your perspective.

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Rational thinking allows you to feel disappointment and frustration, but to a limited extent. You recognize that changes in circumstances, even big and serious ones, can happen everyday and to everyone, and can even lead to positive results.

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RELATED IDEA

Action Beats Deliberation
  • Careers are long. There's no need for a mad rush to find the ideal job. The first part of your career is about testing multiple jobs and understanding what you like/dislike and are good and bad at.
  • Don't spend so much time planning and researching the perfect career path -- you don't know what 'work' is yet anyway. Aggressively explore all options that seem interesting, learn, iterate, and you'll arrive to the 'perfect path' much faster.
  • Simply start. Don't wait to 'know more', don't wait for the perfect job, don't wait to know what you want to do before you even start.

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Many motivational speakers have mentioned the three to four hour biological limit of creative work that can be accomplished in a day.

Great polymaths and thinkers highlight this short amount of working hours when the creative juices flow.

Manual labour, which is mostly assembly line work, or mindless administrative chores like creating reports can be done for far longer.

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The Niceness Trap

The reason so many of us find ourselves trapped in meetings we don't want to be in comes down to the fact that we don't want to offend anyone. But there's a real cost to being nice. We wind up wasting hours of our life going to meetings we don't need to be at.

This is an especially difficult trap when you're a leader and other people want or even expect, you to attend. By choosing not to go, you risk creating the perception among other attendees that the meeting isn't important.

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