Learn to challenge your negative thinking

over_the_bayIf you are feeling angry, frustrated, disappointed, guilty or sad don’t bottle up your feelings.  Have a conversation with yourself:


What is making you feel this way?


When have you felt like this before?


Are there any similarities in the situations?



The Past

Sometimes the past impacts on the present causing us to react in similar ways.  When we step back and have a look at the current situation we can reduce our reaction by recognising that the past is influencing our reactions.


Our Thoughts

Our thoughts may be making the situation worse.  If you find yourself thinking negative thoughts such as these, it is really useful to challenge yourself, to give yourself an alternative perspective. Here are a few negative thoughts followed by a challenge to help you find a kinder perspective on yourself and boost your self-esteem:


Learning to Challenge Yourself

If you think: I can’t stand it – challenge this by saying to yourself:  I can stand it.  It is hard but I have done this before. It is good for me to be stretched a bit.


If you find yourself thinking It’s not worth even trying. Challenge this by saying:  If I don’t try, I won’t know.  It will widen my experience/skills.  Nobody is expecting me to be perfect.


If you find yourself imaging the worst and saying to yourself – It would be awful and embarrassing. Challenge this by recognising everybody makes mistakes sometimes and it’s a great way to learn.


If you believe you won’t fit in. Challenge this by saying: How do I know that?  I have made friends before in similar situations.


If you often say to yourself:  I’m not good enough. Challenge this by saying: I am good enough – I don’t have to be perfect.  I don’t know that I’m not good enough and if I stay here I will never go forward.


Do you worry that you won’t know what to talk about? Help yourself feel better and more confident by recognising that you have your own thoughts and opinions. Say to yourself: I can learn to ask people about their thoughts and opinions.  People like to talk about themselves and this is a good place to start with making conversations.


Do you worry that you might cry or be upset? Challenge that thought by recognising you have a good reason to be emotional and people will understand.   It is only human to show emotion and expressing it is much better than repressing it.


Do you find yourself saying:  I’m useless. You are a harsh critic of yourself.  Take one step at a time and say to yourself:  I have dealt with more than this before. I just need to slow down, breath and stop condemning myself.


A Few more useful Questions to shift unhelpful beliefs

For all of the above examples ask yourself some more questions:


In the same circumstances what would you say to your best friend?


If you looked back in five years time how strongly will you feel about this?


When you are not feeling this way emotionally do you think about situations like this differently?


What strengths and skills do you have that will help this situation?


Cognitive behavioural therapy helps you to help yourself.  Developed during the fifties and sixties by Aaron T. Beck and Albert Ellis it allows you to learn to question your beliefs and thoughts if they are affecting your life negatively.  Using the inductive method CBT encourages us to see our thoughts as hypotheses that may be incorrect.  This may be because we habitually expect a certain outcome or don’t have correct information available to judge.  When we look for other information or decide to react/behave differently life can be much better.


If you have a negative self view and would like to work in a forward looking relationship with a life coach trained in CBT please get in touch.  I offer a free 20 min consultation and sessions are available over the telephone or face to face if you are in Devon.

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