Sponsor Image IBD
Hannah Baillie, Editor in Chief, 90Second Health
Patrick McGrath, OC, PhD, FRSC, Principal Scientist, 90Second Health

Reframing negative thoughts for a positive outcome

Reframing negative thoughts for a positive outcome...
Coping with negative thoughts

Do you think negative thoughts on a regular basis?  Reframing negative thoughts can reduce the impact these thought patterns have on your everyday life. 

What are 'thought distortions'?

Sometimes our negative feelings have some validity, but this doesn't mean they're helpful. Other times we may experience 'thought distortions'. There are many kinds of thought distortions, including:

  • Black-and-white thinking (seeing things as either/or, with no room for flexibility)
  • Overgeneralization (falsely predicting that the same thing will happen over and over again)
  • Catastrophizing (expecting the worst possible outcome to occur)
... CALL TO ACTION...

Label your thoughts

Label your thought distortions as: (1) black-and-white; (2) overgeneralization; (3) catastrophic.

For example, many people say "I am going to fail!" when heading into a tough situation. In reality, they have prepared well and are ready for the challenge. This is a catastrophic thought distortion.


Think about the facts

Once you've labeled your thought, start thinking about it critically. Is it really true? Is there evidence to support the thought? Consider both concrete evidence and your emotions when you evaluate your thought. For example, if you're worried about ruining a presentation, think about the concrete evidence: Have you prepared? Do you know the material well? Is your thought distortion driven by nervousness or worry?

If you avoid going to a restaurant because one time you had severe urgency to use the washroom, then you are overgeneralizing. If you think that your coworkers are either IBD-friendly or not IBD-friendly you are not considering the range of knowledge and attitudes toward IBD. 


Consider alternatives

After collecting evidence about your thought, see if there is an alternative thought that could be more accurate. For instance, "I have studied hard for this exam" or "I have done my best on the presentation." or "Generally people find me pleasant".  


Practice self-compassion

Show yourself some compassion when dealing with negative thoughts. You may see that some of them are true in some situations. Others can clearly be labelled as thought distortions. In either case, practice self-compassion by forgiving yourself for the negative thought. Be as forgiving to yourself as you are to others. Change comes slowly, take one small step at a time. 


Coping with negative thoughts

Do you think negative thoughts on a regular basis?  Reframing negative thoughts can reduce the impact these thought patterns have on your everyday life. 

What are 'thought distortions'?

Sometimes our negative feelings have some validity, but this doesn't mean they're helpful. Other times we may experience 'thought distortions'. There are many kinds of thought distortions, including:

  • Black-and-white thinking (seeing things as either/or, with no room for flexibility)
  • Overgeneralization (falsely predicting that the same thing will happen over and over again)
  • Catastrophizing (expecting the worst possible outcome to occur)

Image

Coping with negative thoughts

Do you think negative thoughts on a regular basis?  Reframing negative thoughts can reduce the impact these thought patterns have on your everyday life. 

What are 'thought distortions'?

Sometimes our negative feelings have some validity, but this doesn't mean they're helpful. Other times we may experience 'thought distortions'. There are many kinds of thought distortions, including:

  • Black-and-white thinking (seeing things as either/or, with no room for flexibility)
  • Overgeneralization (falsely predicting that the same thing will happen over and over again)
  • Catastrophizing (expecting the worst possible outcome to occur)

CALL TO ACTION

Label your thoughts

Label your thought distortions as: (1) black-and-white; (2) overgeneralization; (3) catastrophic.

For example, many people say "I am going to fail!" when heading into a tough situation. In reality, they have prepared well and are ready for the challenge. This is a catastrophic thought distortion.


Think about the facts

Once you've labeled your thought, start thinking about it critically. Is it really true? Is there evidence to support the thought? Consider both concrete evidence and your emotions when you evaluate your thought. For example, if you're worried about ruining a presentation, think about the concrete evidence: Have you prepared? Do you know the material well? Is your thought distortion driven by nervousness or worry?

If you avoid going to a restaurant because one time you had severe urgency to use the washroom, then you are overgeneralizing. If you think that your coworkers are either IBD-friendly or not IBD-friendly you are not considering the range of knowledge and attitudes toward IBD. 


Consider alternatives

After collecting evidence about your thought, see if there is an alternative thought that could be more accurate. For instance, "I have studied hard for this exam" or "I have done my best on the presentation." or "Generally people find me pleasant".  


Practice self-compassion

Show yourself some compassion when dealing with negative thoughts. You may see that some of them are true in some situations. Others can clearly be labelled as thought distortions. In either case, practice self-compassion by forgiving yourself for the negative thought. Be as forgiving to yourself as you are to others. Change comes slowly, take one small step at a time. 


assessment, when selecting options, 1 is false, 5 is true.1. I think of things as "black" or "white". please select an option..2. I often believe the worst outcome will happen.please select an option..3. When something bad happens once, I believe it will happen again.please select an option..4. I have more negative thoughts than positive ones.please select an option..5. I often jump to conclusions.please select an option..6. My emotions control my thoughts.please select an option..7. I often feel down.please select an option.. Please submit the form to get your assessment.
Personal Story. Personal Story.

In the years following my Crohn's diagnosis, I struggled with negative thought distortions on a regular basis. My girlfriend at the time used to complain that I was always negative and worried that the worst would happen. My fear of having a flareup was so strong that I avoided a lot of activities. I always expected the worst to happen. While it is certainly good to be prepared, I never got to do many things because I always forecast the worst. My fear was actually distorted. I was experiencing catastrophic thinking. I gradually learned to label my thoughts and reframe them. I tried to consider all the evidence for and against my thoughts. I often realized that my expectation of the worst possible outcome occurring was misguided. Sometimes recognizing negative thoughts can be hard, so I make sure to practice self-compassion. Having negative thoughts does not make you a bad person, it is part of life. But if you can recognize and reframe them, you will be much happier. 

 

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