Negative thinking leads to stress and anxiety in social and performance situations. Many of the therapies for social anxiety include an aspect dedicated to altering thought patterns towards helpful and positive ways of handling the situations.
The key to changing negative thoughts is to analyze how you think now and then can make use of strategies to alter thoughts or make them influence you the least. Generally, these steps are carried out with a therapist; however, they can be used also as a part of self-help effort towards overcoming social anxiety.
Here are some tips I did to help overcome my negative thinking that you can also try
Know your thinking style
Understanding your thinking style like “how you think right now” is the initial step towards changing your negative thinking patterns. To exemplify, if you view yourself as being completely successful or failure in every situation, then you have engaged yourself in “black and white” thinking. Other negative thinking pattern involves like moving directly to the conclusions or having the habit of overgeneralization.
Know the ways to tackle negative thinking
Cognitive restructuring is the basic part of the treatment plan that includes CBT (Cognitive behavioral therapy). This process assists you to analyze and alter the negative thoughts into many adaptive and helpful responses.
When it is done on your own, this therapy includes a complete procedure in which negative thoughts gets identified, then are evaluated for accuracy and then are replaced. Even though it is not easy to think with this new style in the beginning, with more practice, rational and positive thoughts exist naturally.
Know how to tackle Criticism
Another aspect of CBT that is helpful many a times is “Self assertive defense”. As it is possible that some of the times people could be critical and judgmental towards you, it is crucial for you to tackle with rejection and criticism.
This process takes place in therapy with conversation between you and your therapist to maintain skills of assertiveness and assertive response to criticism. Such skills then get transferred to real world with the assistance of homework projects.
Practice to attain Mindfulness
Mindfulness refluxes its identity from meditation. It can be described a s a practice to detach yourself from thoughts and emotions and consider them as the outside observers.
At the time of the training of mindfulness, you will know how to view your thoughts and feelings as an object floating past and you may stop and observe or let it pass you by. The basic goal of mindfulness is to manage the control of your emotional reactions to situations and this is done by allowing the thinking area of the brain to take over.
Don’t attempt to stop the thoughts
When you try to stop such negative thoughts, this only makes social anxiety worse. By stopping your thoughts, you are just doing the opposite of mindfulness. It can be defined well as an act of looking out for negative thoughts and insisting that they have been eliminated.
The basic hurdle behind stopping thoughts is that more you insist to stop the negative thoughts, more they will surface. Mindfulness is preferred as it provides less weight to your thoughts and lowers the influence on you. In short span of time, thought stopping could help; however in long time it leads to stress and anxiety.
Make use of a thought diary
To make record of your regular thoughts and social anxiety, a thought diary can be used. These are also called as the thought records and could be used as a part of any procedure to alter the negative thinking. These diaries assist you to analyze negative thinking styles and attain enhanced understanding of your thoughts. Being a part of daily homework assignments, most CBT treatment plans includes use of thought diary.
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To exemplify, a thought diary entry could break the thought process of a person on a specific date and the emotional reactions that are resultant of patterns of negative thinking. At the conclusion of thought analysis, you may replace irrational thoughts about the rejection with much helpful and positive manners of thinking.
If you struggle with such negative thoughts and patterns that influence your life, consider to talk to your mental health professional. It could be tough to share the thoughts that you feel with someone else, therapists assess your negative thinking patterns and assist you for creation of healthy inner dialogue.
It is also not like reprogramming your brain in a day or even in a year. Some negativity surrounds you for a moment and which is entirely fine; however, the matter that counts is your efforts in continuation to reprogram and redirect. You will notice its effects over time and you are just required to stick with it.