You Don’t Have to Be Positive, Just Realistic
Often, people will hear “reframe your thoughts” and assume it means simply putting a positive spin on something bad. But Dr. Regine Galanti, a licensed clinical psychologist, says the opposite of an unhelpful thought isn't a happy thought, but a realistic thought. Take a step back and fact-check yourself. If you're currently looking for a new job and feel a bit dejected, you don't have to believe that your dream job is right around the corner. But you can take stock in the fact that you've put out feelers, submitted applications and are qualified for the job you want. Acknowledge that you've done all you can do. Give your mind space to explore the ways that the work you've put in will come back to you.
It Doesn’t Matter If
It’s True, Is It Helpful?
Say you're scrolling through social media and see a gym selfie that leads to thoughts like: “Damn, I'm out of shape. I'll never look like that. I'm worthless.” Psychiatrist Dr. Willough Jenkins says that this all-too-common example of all-or-nothing thinking is one of the most common cognitive distortions. When you fall into that, you see things in black and white with no grey area. We tend to think of things as a complete success or a total failure. But deep down, we know that nobody is perfect and that social media hides a lot behind those filters. Andrea Bonior, Ph.D., author of Detox Your Thoughts, says to keep in mind that there's a spectrum of truth. Ask yourself, “is this helpful?” It's not productive to spiral about being out of shape. Instead, Bonior suggests thinking about how those thoughts that creep in can help you strategize a solution, like making a plan to workout and rework your nutrition. In that case, the negativity can be more motivating than anxiety-inducing.