Every day we have plenty of opportunities to get angry, stressed or offended. But what you’re doing when you indulge these negative emotions is giving something outside yourself power over your happiness. You can choose to not let little things upset you. ~ Joel Osteen
I am continuing a discussion started a few months back about the “Twisted Thinking Styles” that Dr. David Burns came up with in his book “Feeling Good”. I have found that these twisted thinking styles and the ramifications of them lead many of us down a slope that can end in stress, anxiety, and depression. I know that when I first saw these, I said “yes that’s me” to each one. This forced me to rethink my own thinking. It is a difficult process, but one worth focusing on for your own mental and physical health.
This blog’s topic is one that seems on the surface to be easy to solve, but actually may be one of the hardest to change. Mental Filtering is when you dwell on the negatives and ignore the positives.
Sounds simple to fix, but when your brain changes to a child’s brain from your rational adult brain due to stress, anxiety, or depression, this can be one of the hardest to change. Your self statements about how you feel are all focused. The truth is that our thoughts create our reality. Our eyes are not windows to the world, but windows to our mind. If we see through them that our life is unhappy and unfair, your mind will too. So there becomes a need to practice (and I do mean practice) changing those thoughts and voices you hear in your head to positive “can do” ones.
It may take a long time to develop this thinking and it may take the help of other tools, like meditation, gratitude journaling, and giving up people who keep you in the negative. It’s the trick of the glass half empty and glass half full. The big problem is that there are many people who just naturally dwell on the negative. If you are one, ask yourself why you are doing that. I asked myself that question and still struggle most days to try to be optimistic, with the pessimistic or what I used to call the realistic side of my brain screaming at me.
I did find that gratitude journaling (writing three things each day that you are grateful for), helped refocus my mind. I also had a small writing published in a great daily positive thought book called “Tiny Buddha’s 365 Tiny Love Challenges”. This book is a ready-made solution to help you focus on positive thinking and positive actions. It does start to work over time and allow your mind to come back to what is really good about life. In each day, you can find something, even if you have to reach deep into your thoughts. You can do it.