Irrational Beliefs – Part 4

Here are 3 irrational beliefs (cognitive distortions) that we need to watch out for and fix since they can lead to lower self-esteem and harm our everyday interactions.

 Always being right – When an individual often puts on a trial other people’s opinions and actions to prove that they are right. They struggle with the irrational belief that being wrong is unacceptable, and they go to any length to validate their argument.

What to do: Practice the Cost-Benefit Analysis Technique to list the advantages and disadvantages of this behavior. Ask yourself how it makes you feel and what you are gaining with an inappropriate attitude. This method examines the underlying motivation, which encourages you to be sensitive and attuned with your noble intentions. In other words, the practice improves emotional intelligence, which plays an important role in our interpersonal relationships.

Personalization involves taking everything personally or blaming yourself or someone else for an issue that was out of control, and a variety of factors played a role in it. This distortion also drives the person to compare himself to others to establish who is smart or attractive.

What to do:

  1. Stop recounting the problem repeatedly to yourself or others so that the toxic emotions are not reinforced—question what part you played in the issue’s outcome.
  2. Change the pattern, view error as an opportunity for self-improvement rather than failure—question what role you played in the problem’s outcome.
  3. Be mindful of your tendency to taking things personally and blaming others.
  4. Do recognize that everyone has their own struggles and life story.

Emotional Reasoning is when you are looking for external causes for your feelings. For instance: “I am anxious, so I must be in danger.” “I feel judged; this means that people are judging me.”

What to do:

  • Apply Double Standard Technique; instead of beating up on yourself mercilessly, pretend that you are talking to a friend with the same problem. Naturally, you will be more caring and practical. Try the same approach be a friend to yourself.
  • Practice Socratic Method: question to expose contradictions in your thoughts and ideas. Put yourself in the hot seat and find holes in your beliefs. Under pressure with critical thinking, reasoning, and logic, you will notice how a change in facts can change your perspective.

Hopefully, this piece and the previous posts have given you a solid understanding of irrational thoughts based on hidden assumptions that we can all experience at one time or another. Whether you are struggling with mental health or not, it helps evaluate our thinking patterns now and then. Yes, the introspection, either by tackling your own struggles or seeking out CBT Therapy, is extremely valuable. It helps us live a productive life by patching up the negativity and building resilience.

 

Artwork by Maja Borowicz

Build Resilience In Challenging Times

How we cope or endure the dramatic changes in life requires practical approaches. Whether it is the contagion of pandemic and the collective anxiety it has generated or disaster displacement to personal setbacks or sorrows, we need to harness our inner strength to rebound. Considering that toxic emotions keep us away from the right priorities during distress, we need to build resilience.

This ability steers our creativity and clarity of thoughts to make smart, informed choices from mental fatigue, fear, or panic in times of tribulations.

No matter what has happened, the impact can begin all the way physiologically to our minds and become chronic. The term “Allostatic Load” refers to extreme harm to our overall wellbeing. It occurs when demand on our internal resources exceeds our capacity. Hence the fear puts excessive pressure on our capabilities and resources, resulting in poor decision-making and burnout.

So how do we get back stability and build mental resilience? Let’s start with a Buddhist parable of the second arrow.

The Buddha once asked a student: “If a person is struck by an arrow, is it painful? If the person is struck by a second arrow, is it even more painful?” He then explained, “In life, we cannot always control the first arrow. However, the second arrow is our reaction to the first. And with this second arrow comes the possibility of choice.”

Here are a few suggestions to restore physical and mental strength by building resilience:

  • First, calm your mind – Take notice of your thoughts, especially when they running away towards apocalyptic scenarios. Focus on one positive fact: “it is marvelous that I am safe at my home” versus the bad news. You can also use mindfulness apps such as Headspace or be mindful in support of your initiative to unhook the negative emotion.
  • Connect with your moral compass. Resilient people are guided by compassion, have a solid sense of fairness, and consider right and wrong.
  • Believe in something greater than yourself to give you courage and strength – for instance, “a life purpose or a mission.”
  • Engage in philanthropic activities.
  • Accept that you cannot change what has happened, but you can focus on what you can change.
  • Identify meaningful wisdom in the dire experience
  • Create a social support system with individuals who have a positive outlook in life and a nurturing spirit.

On a final note, a good diet and regular exercise to boost our good health should be part of our daily life.

Feature image by Kierstin Young 

Cultivate resilience which is a formula for happiness! – Positive Vibes Series

You can be isolated, knocked down, lose your reputation or your business, your lover may call it a day, well many things can go wrong, and consequently, you want to crawl under a rock and stay there forever! The truth is that heartbreaks, sufferings, and pain are real and part of life. By acknowledging this fact, you realize that quitting or withdrawing to a dark abyss is not an option unless you want to be part of the extinction club’s honorary member.

Kathrin Federer
Kathrin Federer

Human history proves that positive adaptation, better known as resilience, is part of our survival regardless of our different predispositions or vulnerabilities. We dare to learn and face dire circumstances, pick up the pieces, and triumph. While traumatic experiences shape our resilience, the good news is that this quality can be cultivated.

“Everyone faces up more bravely to a thing for which he has long prepared himself, sufferings, even being withstood if they have been trained for in advance.” – Seneca

What Seneca refers to is your ability to intervene and forge your resilience by conforming to Stoic philosophy. The school of thought encourages thoughtful analysis into the dark web of your fears and agonies by distinguishing between what you can control and what you don’t have control over, even more between the reality and our perception of the situation.

Oleg Shupliak
Oleg Shupliak

All this considered, whether you are currently experiencing difficult times or have undergone one, whether you are fearful of what the future has in store, employing a stoic strategy helps you cope with the challenges. Begin with picturing the worst that can happen and trust that you are capable of bouncing back from the unthinkable. The idea is preparing yourself to face the unknown and what could go wrong, and the goal is not about being less fearful but building courage. Tapping into your inner strength and to you emplace systems to build up your resilience.

Initially, reflect on your life vision, the kind of life you want to lead, where you want to be in 3 or 5 years, what is the purpose of your existence. Next, write down the significant past experiences that have shaped your emotions to understand where you are in life. For both exercises, go to self-authoring.com and use their online writing programs to explore your past, present, future by gaining a deep understanding of yourself.

Subsequently, consider exerting the following practical efforts recommended by experts in your life strategy and increase your capacity to recover from difficulties:

  • Develop healthy eating habits and regular exercise to strengthen your overall health and increase the chances of better and faster recovery from injuries or sickness.
  • Practice forgiveness – Nelson Mandela said: “When I walked out of the gate, I knew that I was still in prison if I continued to hate these people.” Forgiveness is a necessary attitude to build resilience and not an alternative.
  • Know that there is no guarantee in life (the only guarantee is that we are mortals).
  • Invest in people and relationships that are supportive and encourage you to get through hard times.
  • Commit to routines – establish priorities and stay with it even when things are out of control. For instance, mapping your day, being aware of the cost of the wasted time, performing tasks that are integral to your goals will weed out the act of procrastination. As your actions become your habits, you can restrain impulses and become less reliant on motivation and take responsibility to move forward. “Foolish are those who…have no aim to which they can direct every impulse and, indeed, every thought.” – Marcus Aurelius.
  • Have back up plans
  • Refrain from putting all your eggs in one basket
  • Transform your resentment to energy and channel it towards your goals

 

 

 

Featured image by Fernanda Suarez 

How To Move Away from Blame Game and Take responsibility – Positive Vibes Series

Yes it is hard to accept change, yes you have been wounded, yes you have been ridiculed, yes you have cried your heart out from unjust, yes you have been let down, and yes you have been taken for granted.

Now, it is time to sanitize your thoughts, yes it is time to stop blaming yourself or others. 

Dylan Bolivar

It is time to change perspective and elevate your thinking to a place where the field is clear and no-one’s shadow or actions loom out of your whining and complaining mind. A place where you take responsibility to learn and move forward. This new outlook is like stepping into a hot shower after a long torturous physical labour. Tension is relieved, the aches are gone and you feel refreshed. 

Be aware that you cannot avoid getting emotionally hurt, wronged or exposed to natural disasters and by building high fences you would not be protected from future unwarranted or unforeseen circumstances instigated by outside forces.

On top of that, bear in mind that your commitment to growing in life means tossing away the self-evaluation infested with blame. The emotion is so debilitating to a point that you may even not see the quicksand that is pulling you brutally downward where you will cease to exist.

Johnson Tsang

Being a captain in your life’s command center needs a gigantic shift of mindset. An intelligent mind snaps out of victimhood, realizing that it needs to adjust the sails when the direction of the wind cannot be changed.

Captian Kirk – Start Trek

Even when the world seems to be against you, instead of getting stuck and hanging on to validation, move away from self-pity, sit back, take personal responsibility, observe, learn and find solutions. Taking responsibility is not to orbit in the realm of self-blame, but to take the following steps:

  • Do not set the destructive standard for yourself – In a difficult situation, do not personalize the issue by self-disparagement since many things that happened to you is not completely your lapse or shortcomings. 
  • Do not freeze up, make sense of the circumstance by asking fact-finding questions.
  • Develop resilience – the capability to learn and recover is dynamic and not a personality trait.

The benefits of shifting perspectives are boundless. Even if a nasty outcome unfolds from your decision, you will no longer confront it with blaming games. Rather, you choose to improve your own behaviour, reactions and your decision making progress so that next time you lessen the chances of it happening again. 

Learning from the past should positively transform your mindset. You start de-cluttering and evolving to be strong and dynamic. Still, unfortunate events bound to happen, anger, and resentment will slither and cloud your judgment steering your emotions towards victimhood and blame.

Nevertheless, if you have done your homework and every day took the time to self-reflect and practice, particularly learning to let go of what you cannot control and cultivating a non-judgmental attitude, next time in face of adversity, you decide, react and re-define the situation, then and only then you can progress. Remember keeping your zest for life upbeat is to have self-compassion and courage to trade helplessness with self-growth. 

Lastly, every time fear, worry or challenging situations lurk for your darkest moments, recognize that mistakes are natural so instead of stifling your potential just get back on the horse.

“Use your signature strengths and virtues in the service of something much larger than you are.” ~ Martin Seligman (2002, p. 263)