Recognizing Stinkin’ Thinking

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"I just can’t help the way I feel."
"It’s never going to get better."
Hardly anyone is safe from falling prey to what some refer to as “stinking thinking.” Telling ourselves things that simply are not true is an example of a negative thought pattern that leads to a myriad of emotions ranging from sadness/depression to anger/frustration.

In order to combat and overcome negative thought patterns, it is necessary to put in the work. If you can recognize stinking thinking, you too can learn to change the way you feel.

The Many Faces of 'Stinking Thinking'

Stinking thinking comes in many forms; examples include: "should" statements, jumping to conclusions, discounting the positive, overgeneralizations, placing blame, and all-or-nothing thinking.

Change Your Approach

Our thoughts and attitudes have a direct influence on how we feel. Using a different approach is often necessary to snap out of bad mood. It may be difficult to recognize in the moment, but most negative thoughts we have are actually distorted and at times unrealistic.

It takes time to gain a new perspective. Recognizing that destructive thoughts only lead to feeling poorly about ourselves makes us more likely to want to change. Being aware of stinking thinking may shed light on the necessary changes needed to improve mood.

Where Do We Go From Here?

It is impossible to be in complete control of our thinking. A healthy goal would be to acknowledge our mood, but remember not to take the feelings so seriously. Accepting that we’re experiencing some distortion in our thinking and taking a moment to separate our thoughts and feelings may help to overcome those moments of self-doubt and misery.

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