Have you ever noticed how often the story you tell yourself about something affects your thinking? The phrase “Stinkin Thinkin” has been coined the mental health and recovery arenas for years to refer to how our negative thoughts affect our overall experience and reality. The implicit message is if we change our focus, attitude, and “thinkin'” we can help change our experience!
Sometimes our thoughts come on so automatically (often due to familial or social influences or simply patterns you’ve learned in adapting to life). It doesn’t have to be this way, however. Changing our thinking is a very intentional process of learning how to “catch” the thoughts as or before they affect our mood and behavior. Doing so reminds you that you are in fact in control of the story you tell yourself and the emotional aftermath of that story. The same two people may have very different reactions to the same triggering circumstances. One of my favorite books in the arena of finding peace and happiness is The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.
Cognitive therapy is a great way to learn tools for positively redirecting your thinking while better understanding and challenging self-defeating thoughts. The video below demonstrates just one example of an intervention you might use in confronting your negative thoughts. Enjoy practicing!