Beating Negative Thinking During the Holidays Part 2
December 23, 2013 | Published by Dr. Eric Bakker
Here’s part 2 of my tips to beat negative thinking during the holidays (and anytime, really). You can read part 1 here.
6. Magnification and Minimization
Anne is a 1st grade teacher and she overslept the day of the big holiday program. She rushes to get ready and makes it to school just in time to get her students to the stage. The show goes on without a hitch and many parents tell Anne she put together an amazing program. Anne chalks it up to dumb luck and dwells on being late.
People in this category tend to magnify failures and minimize successes (like looking out of the wrong end of a telescope). To avoid this trap, think about the old adage “can’t see the forest for the trees.” In other words, take a step back and view the big picture. Anne spent a lot of time writing and decorating, and the students practiced hard all week. The program was a great success for good reason, regardless of a small mistake.
7. Emotional Reasoning
Paul volunteered to be host for a work holiday get-together, and the place is a mess. People will be arriving in a couple of hours and Paul starts to freak out. Great, he thinks. It’s hopeless to even bother cleaning now. They’ll have to party in my filth. Why did I even try?
Paul has judged his situation based entirely on how it makes him feel, rather than the actual scale. Sure, the situation is stressful and it’ll take some work, but is it really hopeless? Paul has let the situation overwhelm him and feels there is no reasonable solution. When a situation feels overwhelming, try this: Break down the task/problem into a list of bite-sized pieces. Prioritize each bit and start with #1. Once you knock out a few tiny bits, you’ll be amazed at how manageable the situation actually is. After Paul takes out the garbage, cleans off the kitchen table and washes the dishes, he realizes he’ll be good on time and is now excited for guests to arrive.
8. Should Statements
Lindsey is at a department store doing some last minute shopping. She’s tired, bleary-eyed, and all out of holiday cheer. When Lindsey gets to the checkout, she notices there are only a few registers open and the lines are crazy. Agh, shouldn’t they have more lanes open? Why should we have to wait so long? Lindsey thinks.
Let’s face it: things can’t always be the way we think they should. Some situations just downright stink, but if you can’t change it, there’s no point fighting it. It’s simply not worth the stress. Here’s how Lindsey can reframe the situation: I can’t make lanes magically open, and once I’m done here I can go home and rest, so I’ll suck it up, smile, and get through this.
9. Labeling and Mislabeling
John has been on a diet for a month. He gives in to a piece of homemade chocolate cake at work and immediately afterwards thinks “Great—I’m a diet-cheating pig. I’ll never lose weight.”
We’re often our worst critics, and John has just labeled himself with some pretty cruel words. When we place labels on ourselves, we’re setting ourselves up with an excuse to become that label. The trick to get over this trap is to reassess and cover the negative label with a positive one. Up until that point, John’s self-discipline has been strong; he’s been exercising, eating good quality foods, and losing weight. John’s new label should be Success, because overall he is succeeding in his goals and will keep working hard (without beating himself up).
Amy’s 11 year-old son Luke is grounded during the holidays. A group of friends invites him to go sledding, and Luke must refuse their offer. Luke becomes upset with his mother and shuts himself in his room. Amy blames herself for her son’s disappointment and feels terrible.
Amy’s folly is taking all the blame for her son’s actions. What Amy is failing to see is that she grounded Luke for a reason. She’s done her best to raise her son to do the right thing, and she must accept that at the end he is responsible for his own actions. The way to combat this type of thinking is to first ask yourself “Am I really to blame for this?” Then, realize that we can’t be responsible for every action others make (as much as we wish we could).
Everyone’s situations and circumstances will vary, but I hope you can use these examples as tools to create personalized positive solutions to your own negative thoughts. Recognizing that we all get negative thoughts from time to time is a great first step. Our thoughts form our world; practice turning negative thoughts into positive ones and you’ll notice a big difference.
About the Author: Eric Bakker B.H.Sc. (Comp.Med), N.D, R.Hom. is a highly experienced naturopathic physician who has been in clinical practice for 25 years. Eric is passionate about improving people’s lives through proven wellness and lifestyle principles, natural medicine practice as well as public and professional practitioner education. Eric specialises in candida yeast infections, as well as adrenal fatigue, and thyroid disorders. Dr. Bakker has written one of the most comprehensive books on yeast infections called Candida Crusher. Website: candidacrusher.com You can complete his online survey to determine if you have a yeast infection here, or link through to his many YouTube videos: www.yeastinfection.org Dr. Bakker’s Blog: www.ericbakker.com
Categorised in: Self Improvement