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5 Negative Thought Patterns You Need To Drop Now

Megan Hale, M.A.
mbg Contributor By Megan Hale, M.A.
mbg Contributor
Megan Hale, M.A. holds a Masters in Clinical Counseling, a Bachelors in Psychology, and a board certified coaching certificate from the Institute for Life Coach Training.

With the New Year having just arrived, I’ve been gearing up with my clients and thinking about how to make 2014 their best year yet! We can’t have the best year yet if we keep on using the same old stinking thinking, so here are five bad boys to throw to the wayside.

1. Catastrophizing

We go from 0 to “my life is OVER” in five seconds flat when we get caught up in this thought pattern. It usually involves some awesome exaggeration as to how one tiny little mistake is going to be the end of a career, or some similarly important aspect of life. This creates loads of anxiety, fear, stress, and even hopelessness or helplessness.

To steer clear of this one, go with the facts based in reality. Be wary of getting spun up into the anxiety cloud by making something far worse than it really is. Also, DON’T jump to conclusions (another negative thought pattern).

2. Generalizing

We take one thing and run with it. We color all our future interactions by one event. Ever heard “all guys are liars” or “all women are high maintenance”? Watch out for the use of "all" and "none," and break this bad habit for good!

3. Personalizing

The world does not revolve around you. It doesn’t revolve around me, either. Keep this in mind when you take something personally. People’s reactions have much more to do with their own issues than they have to do with yours. Give yourself a break from taking all the blame automatically or assuming (another negative thought pattern) that you're causing someone to feel or do a particular feeling or action. We only have that much power over ourselves.

4. Filtering

Calling all my Negative Nancys. They can find the dark cloud regardless of how many rainbows show up. Filtering focuses on only the negative aspects while ignoring the positive. This is a type of skewed thinking. To stay clear of this one, make sure you’re viewing things from a clear and balanced perspective. There are few things that are all bad or all good.

5. "Should"-ing

This is probably one of my favorites as I “should” on myself all the time. Shoulds imply that we aren’t up to snuff and that we're falling behind in some way. Add enough shoulds to your plate, and you’ll be overwhelmed and feeling defeated in no time. Your get out of jail free card is that if you really should be doing something, then make the time to do it! If it isn’t really that important, then kick it to the curb. You have enough going on right now, and that’s OK!

Make this year unlike any other. Step into your power by harnessing these negative thoughts and you’ll be unstoppable! Happy New Year!

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