Having a pattern of negative thinking can make your life, especially during recovery, more difficult. They can affect your mental health and your ability to function daily. Breaking these habits can feel almost impossible.
At Spero Recovery, we want to help you stop these patterns and help you on your recovery journey.
What Are Negative Thinking Patterns?
Negative thinking patterns are unhealthy thought processes that become habitual. They can be filled with false thoughts and misconceptions. These patterns can also be filled with cognitive distortions.
Cognitive distortions are errors in thinking, which include:
- Overgeneralization: This is when you take an isolated event and use it to describe the whole
- Minimization: Making light of the positive attributes of a person or situation
- Mind reading: When you make decisions based on what you assume someone is thinking
- Catastrophizing: Focusing on worst-case scenarios or thinking a situation is far worse than it is
- All-or-nothing thinking: Also known as dichotomous thinking, you are only able to see things in black or white, with no middle ground
- Discounting the positive: Disregard any positive experience that contradicts the negative thoughts you have
- Emotional reasoning: Making decisions based on your feelings rather than facts
- Should thinking: Focusing on what you believe the situation ought to be rather than what it is
- Personalization: Assuming sole blame for bad outcomes in an event
How Can This Impact My Quality of Life?
Having negative thinking processes can make it hard to have a healthy, stable relationship, hold a job, and achieve your goals, and it can have a poor effect on your mental health.
It causes you to hold onto the negatives and disregard the positives of the other person in your relationship. Negative thinking makes it so you are a “glass half empty” type of person. You focus on the bad things that happened, are happening, and could happen. It makes it hard for you to enjoy the moment, forget and forgive any mistakes of the other person, and appreciate them as an individual and member of the relationship.
You can have trouble holding onto a job because you are always assuming that you aren’t doing well enough and they are going to fire you. It makes it uncomfortable for your coworkers and management to work with you. It makes you question your abilities, which over time, can decrease your confidence and performance.
Having negative thoughts about yourself and your situation can make it hard for you to achieve your goals. You don’t feel like you are doing well enough to reach them even though you deserve to.
Constantly seeing the bad in others and your life can lead to false beliefs. These falsities can cause depression, anxiety, and perfectionism. You are continuously putting yourself down and discounting your accomplishments as not being good enough.
Treatments to Eliminate Negative Thinking Patterns
Some common treatment options for reversing negative thoughts include:
Cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) is a form of mental health treatment that uses talking to identify false thoughts and beliefs and use techniques to change them. It looks at the relationship between your thought process and behaviors to be able to change them for the better.
Doing this type of cognitive restructuring helps you to understand why you think the way you do, how it affects your behavior, and helps to break the negative thinking pattern.
Meditation and Mindfulness
Meditation and mindfulness are processes that emphasize the relationship between the mind and body. They use mental focus on breathing techniques, visualization, or repeated words, sounds, or phrases. These processes help with stress reduction and keep you in the present.
Using meditation and mindfulness can help you stop and evaluate the situation at that moment rather than focusing on past events. It can help you see the positives and embrace them to the full extent rather than trying to diminish them and emphasize the negatives. You can learn to see the good things you are doing and bring to situations.
Changing These Thought Patterns Can Help My Recovery
Modifying negative thought patterns into more positive and true ones can improve multiple aspects of your life.
It can improve your relationships because you would be able to appreciate the person and the good things they bring rather than always fixating on the mistakes. This can help in rekindling relationships that were hurt during your substance use.
Changing your thought patterns can help prevent relapse because you aren’t focused on the past. It also helps you be able to look forward to a bright future and feel like you deserve and can reach the goals you set for yourself.
It helps you see the situation for what it is, rather than what it should be, or place blame on yourself when you aren’t at fault.
Having a mentality that is constantly bringing you negativity can have a dramatic impact on your quality of life, relationships, and mental health. These patterns can be destructive and difficult to break. They can make empathizing, decision-making, and evaluating your life much harder. Eliminating them can improve how you view situations and the people around you. It can also give you a new viewpoint while going through recovery. If you feel like you are struggling with breaking negative thinking patterns, please reach out to Spero Recovery at (303) 351-7888 for more information today. You are not alone. We want to help get you into a healthier mindset and teach you ways to cope with negative thinking.