The way you think about what is happening in your life will help you feel if what is happening to you is stressful or not. The cognitive distortions (faulty thinking patterns) can affect your thoughts, the way you behave and how you feel stress. How you talk to yourself internally (internal dialogue) is how you approach life.
There are people who have this internal dialogue more positive and others who have it more negative … these seconds tend to have more stress and feel life in a more pessimistic way. If you have a negative self-talk pattern, can you change those thought patterns with cognitive restructuring?
Cognitive restructuring helps change these distortions in the mind so that negative thought patterns cease to exist. The help of a therapist is usually needed to perform cognitive behavioral therapy. In some cases, good results can be achieved if you have the right information and enough commitment to get good results.
Be aware of what is happening
It is difficult to change something when you do not know what is happening. Sometimes cognitive distortions include ‘all or nothing’ thoughts, so there are no middle nuances. Emotional and logical reasoning overlap and the person is not aware that their thinking is being distorted.
To recognize distortions you must be alert to thoughts that may be irrational. Once you know it, you could recognize them in yourself and in others and you will be ready to restructure your mind and return to rational thoughts.
You will need practice and time to be able to do a good cognitive restructuring and change your negative thoughts for positive ones that help you live life more and better.
You are the one who can change things
It doesn’t matter if you go to therapy, or that your psychologist is the best in the world, if you don’t really want to change, you won’t achieve anything. There are no magic wands. Whether a situation is stressful depends on your mind and if you stress yourself more than necessary you will start to feel exhausted. You are the owner of your decisions. Life is a constant decision and depending on the decisions you make, the result will be one or the other.
If you start exchanging thoughts of the type: ‘I have to’, ‘I can’t’ for others that are: ‘I’m going to do’, ‘I choose not to do it’, etc. You will begin to remember that the options of a situation depend on you and you will feel less stressed because you will know that you are in control. For example instead of thinking something like: ‘I would like to exercise but the children will not let me’, you can think something else like: ‘I would like to exercise, but I choose to play with my children’. Little by little you will learn to think positively more automatically and you will be able to think while reducing stress.
Reduce the ‘should’ or ‘should’
When you think with ‘should’ or ‘should’, you will almost certainly have stress because you feel that there is a right and wrong way of doing things and what you do is not in accordance with what you feel at that moment. You create a cognitive distortion and you feel bad about yourself, because what your body generates cortisol and you will feel quite distressing stress.
It is time for you to analyze those ‘shoulds’ to know what is the best you can do at any given moment, trying to get those thoughts in line and in line with your actions.
Focus on the positive
A wonderful idea to focus on the positive and that you realize that you have a lot to be thankful for in life, is to have a gratitude journal where you capture your thoughts each day. It’s a journal of the things you are thankful for, no matter how small.
You will be training your mind to notice everything good that happens to you every day of your life and in this way drive away bad thoughts and stress from your life.