Negative thinking patterns are tough as it is and can lead us to feeling low. To take that even further, negative thinking patterns during periods of high stress can really create and promote further mental health challenges.
As moms, life is stressful, we get it. It was stated in our job description. That probably means, it’s a good idea to take care of our mental health. Being aware of our negative thinking patterns is a good start to manage stress.
A LITTLE BIT ABOUT NEGATIVE THINKING PATTERNS
In the world of Psychology, negative thinking patterns have of course received a lot of attention and research. In the literature, negative thinking patterns are referred to as cognitive distortions.
You’ve probably heard about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). It’s a therapy that addresses a range of mental health challenges from anxiety to depression. CBT currently is one of the therapies that has the highest level of scientific evidence proving its efficacy for a range of illnesses.
One of the elements of CBT interventions is to assess our thinking patterns that may lead to unwarranted conclusions that create and exacerbate illnesses like anxiety, magnify stressors, affect your heart and suppress your immune system.
4 NEGATIVE THINKING PATTERNS TO AVOID AT ALL COSTS
NEGATIVE THINKING PATTERN 1 – Mental filtering.
Oh you thought, filtering was just for pictures on your instagram. Well, no, mental filtering is when a person takes the negative details of a situation and blows them up so large that they’re unable to see the positives. This is the case often, despite evidence to the contrary. Positives are simply filtered out for us. Research has connected mental filtering to hopelessness. Hopelessness is a trait we often seen in depression and suicidal thinking.
→ For every negative thing you note, try finding a counterpoint, or a positive detail to find balance.
NEGATIVE THINKING PATTERN 2 – Catastrophizing.
Catastrophizing is when we expect something big and bad to happen all the time despite the differences in situations. Magnification or minimization of elements of a situation happens and then we expect the worst outcome. Studies link this type of distorted thinking to chronic pain and childhood trauma.
→ Try looking at every situation with a little more nuance. Perform a cost-benefit analysis to understand if it’s what’s really happening or we’re making a mountain out of a mohill.
NEGATIVE THINKING PATTERN 3 – Polarized thinking.
This type of thinking is called ‘all or nothing or black and white’ thinking. And it’s exactly that –extreme. There are little to no grey areas to consider when in reality life is a big grey area. Placing people or situations into either/or categories oversimplifies things that can be complex.
→ Try to think about the outcome that is ideal in situations then assess whether thinking in extremes will help to achieve those goals or divert from them. For instance, doing something at work and failing at the test, doesn’t necessarily mean you are not good at it. Ask yourself if you worked enough on the task or if you were distracted, rather than assuming you are not good at ‘it’.
NEGATIVE THINKING PATTERN 4 – Personalization.
This is where we see everything that when another person says or does as something that is directed at us. In the literal sense, everything is taken personally even when something isn’t meant that way. Studies show a link between personalization thinking patterns and anxiety, as well as depression.
→ Try taking a step back and looking at the whole picture. When we look at the whole picture, we realize that we’re not the only one in it.
STAYING IN THE EVIDENCE-BASED PARENTING LOOP
Don’t forget to keep your wellness and worries on the top of your priority list during this season of motherhood.
Follow me on Pinterest and Instagram for more like this. Check out parenting in a pandemic: children’s mental health, mindful parenting, self-care, meditation, and mom mental health for some tips on getting through this time.
Stay well and healthy.
Be good to yourself,