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Top tips for changing negative thinking

Article Number One in our ‘Think Yourself Sassy’ series

We have all seen her haven’t we? She is that perfectly dressed professional woman who is distinguishable by the absence of a bulging handbag of defibrillator-esque cosmetic products to get her through two hours of networking scrutiny. She has no need for root touch up powder, spare tummy control tights or the travel version of every Frizz ease product known to woman.

 

No, this lady is the epitome of professional cool who triggers ripples of “how does she do it?” around the room from other women, in tones only decipherable by dolphins. 

One could take a bookmaker’s highest odds that she will not have bunion-easing orthopaedic Eastern European flats in her bag to get down the steps at the subway station. And, of course, her shoes and bag match. 

Some women have a rare quality that it utterly indefinable, an enigmatic glow that comes with age that’s instantly recognizable even in a youth obsessed era.

The reality is of course that we rarely recognise these ‘Other Woman’ qualities in ourselves because we are busy believing she is somehow better than we are. More likely we think there is something in us which stops us being like her.

If you have ever sloped off home feeling like a slightly grubby, overheated country cousin version of that other woman, you will probably be familiar with that feeling of not being ‘good enough’ and the  emotions of envy, jealousy, and perhaps even remorse, guilt and anger. But do you have to live with this? Or could you think yourself into ‘Other Woman’?

One of the most powerful therapies for changing self-limiting beliefs is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) originally developed Eysenck. His theory was that most of our problems with depression, lack of confidence, phobias, anxiety (and the list goes on) stems from our thinking and how we look at situations. Why is it that one person looks at a situation and sees fun, when another sees mortal danger. The answer? How they think. The situation is the same for both, but their cognition is diametrically opposed. Guess who is happiest? You have it – the one who thinks “fun”.

So how do you shift your thinking from negative to positive?

There are three steps:

  • Identify the critical (negative) thought

  • Create a baseline – when, how often, what triggers etc?

  • Change the baseline to cognitive comfort

 

So step one is to identify the thinking which stops you being that ‘Other Woman.’ 

Use the questionnaire below to rate your negative thinking:

 

Thoughts - life

Never

Sometimes

Often

Always

I have not achieved much in life

 

 

 

 

I am unlucky

 

 

 

 

It is too late to be the success I wanted to be

 

 

 

 

All my friends have a better life than me

 

 

 

 

I have little of which to be really proud

 

 

 

 

I have to accept what I have – it’s not going to get better

 

 

 

 

Other people do better in life than me

 

 

 

 

Thoughts - self

Never

Sometimes

Often

Always

I am a mess

 

 

 

 

I am disorganized

 

 

 

 

I am not in control

 

 

 

 

Most people are more clever than me

 

 

 

 

People think badly of me

 

 

 

 

I am not popular

 

 

 

 

I do not particularly like myself

 

 

 

 

Thoughts - looks

Never

Sometimes

Often

Always

I am not attractive

 

 

 

 

I cannot look elegant

 

 

 

 

I am too lumpy to be luscious

 

 

 

 

I feel frumpy

 

 

 

 

I cannot wear the clothes I want to

 

 

 

 

Everyone looks better than me

 

 

 

 

 

If you have ticked everything ‘Never’ or only have a smattering of ‘Sometimes’ and they are all rational – well you are a role model in Sassy thinking. If you can write a blog of how you stay so positive we will feature you - please get in touch.

If you were mainly in the ‘Sometimes’ and ‘Often’ boxes, then you need to work on that negative thinking before it gets worse. The nasty thing about negative thoughts is that they are self-fulfilling because of how our brains work. If you think ‘Other women are more elegant than me’ you will only notice the ‘Other Woman’ types sashaying along on racehorse legs with not a bingo-wing in sight. Your brain will filter out the woman next to you in a badly fitting outfit, shoddy shoes and a stuffed handbag which spouts used tissues. Time to change the negative glasses through which you look at self and life.

If you have ticked mainly ‘Always’ then, Sassista, we are worried about you. Please, please talk to someone and, if you cannot chat away the blues, you need to ask for help. There are very few ugly, useless, failures out there and you are certainly not one of them. But, for whatever reason, you are giving your brain and your soul a very hard time.

In our next article, to be posted next week, we look at step two – challenging the thinking which pulls you down. Remember, a thought is just a neural connection. Change the thought, change the neural connection, change the feeling.

Homework: Write down all the negative thoughts or self-statements you frequently apply to yourself. Next week, we are going to start creating your baseline.


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