There’s always an influx of negative stories running in the background for most of us. For those who experienced childhood trauma, these messages can flow continuously and can be debilitating for a lot of people.
Negative messages are subtle and repetitive. They mostly occur around certain times and events. Whether it is a sound, sight, smell, a familiar face or taste, it could be any number of triggers. It is sometimes difficult to identify a particular trigger because they are subtle and easily missed.
If you would like to know what leads your thoughts down a particular path, take time to study yourself. Pay attention to those things that annoy or make you sad. You can also reflect on things after the fact and honestly scrutinise the events of that day to find what started you down the path of low moods or irritation.
Sometimes we might fear to identify the trigger. You may have a story around the particular event. For example, you may have been told that you are lazy when you make a mistake. This would influence distorted thinking. You may not decide to think of yourself in these terms but might catch yourself doing so before you had time to think. These general statements such as ‘ I always make mistakes’ are called globalisation. No one always does anything, so chances are there will be times when you don’t make mistakes.
However, because you’ve been trained to think of you in the negative, you wouldn’t naturally challenge those thoughts.
That’s where the beauty of the mind can help. According to neuroplasticity, You can create new pathways and change the old harmful way of thinking.
Let’s take the thought ‘I always make mistakes’. Say these instead. Everyone makes mistakes. That’s normalising the negative statements.
If everyone makes them, then it’s not a particular character defect, or something unable to change.
You could also think, ‘I can learn from my mistake’ Some of those comforts we enjoy today. Like electricity, was not invented on the first try.
You try it.
Think of your repetitive message.
When does it usually show up?
How does it make you feel?
How can you challenge those thoughts?
Now tell yourself what’s true
Practice, practice, practice, until challenging your thoughts to become a regular part of yourself talk.
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