Stinkin’ Thinkin’

Earlier in the week I introduced you to the basic concepts of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. CBT is a direct approach to problem solving in counseling that focuses on identifying, challenging, and changing faulty belief systems and distorted ways of thinking…otherwise known as Stinkin’ Thinkin”.

My last blog post explored the powerful link between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Today we will move beyond the CBT triangle and focus on distorted thinking patterns called Cognitive distortions. Quite simply, cognitive distortions are inaccurate thoughts that reinforce negative thinking, behavior, and emotions.

For instance, a mom who has just signed on for a new PTA position might tell herself she SHOULDN’T make any mistakes in this new role and MUST transition into the role seamlessly. These types of SHOULD/MUST thoughts cause anxiety & unnecessary emotional distress.

Below are a few more types of distorted thinking that can lead to what I like to call “Mommy-Manic Moments!!!!”

Magnifying or Minimizing: Exaggerating or minimizing the importance of events-discounting achievements or exaggerating mistakes. “Everyone noticed I left the date off of the school carnival packet. This is AWFUL & everyone will think I am incompetent.”

Overgeneralizing: Making broad statements from a single or a few events. “I wasn’t as prepared for the PTA meeting today as I should have been. I am always unprepared!” 

Magical Thinking: A belief that acts will influence unrelated situations. “I am a good person-bad things should not happen to me.”

Personalization: Believing that one is responsible for events outside of his/her own control. “My child is going through a hard time. If I were a better mom, my child would never have to face hard times.”

Jumping to Conclusions by Mind Reading: Interpreting the thoughts and beliefs of others without adequate evidence. “Little Johnny wasn’t invited to that birthday party, so that mom must think he is an awful kid!” 

Jumping to Conclusions by Fortune Telling: Expecting a situation will turn out badly without adequate evidence. “Little Bobby will surely fail 2nd grade because he isn’t reading at the same level as the other children in his class.” 

As you can probably guess, this type of negative thinking leads to anxiety & depression….Not to mention countless unplanned trips to TARGET for retail therapy!!!! In upcoming posts, we will explore a few more types of Stinkin’ Thinkin’ & begin the process of challenging and changing Negative Nelly thoughts.

Until then…

Image result for keep calm and cognitive distortions

Mommy Mind Make-Over…The Cognitive Triangle Explained

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought.”

This simple premise is the cornerstone of my work as a therapist.

I have found that the root of a client’s anxiety and/or depression is often directly related to his/her core beliefs about himself, others and the world around him. These beliefs, in combination with distorted thinking patterns, cause a great deal of emotional distress.

So it stands to reason that if we harness the power of our thoughts, we can directly influence our feelings & behaviors.  This idea is the backbone of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a short term, goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that takes a hands-on, practical approach to problem solving. Quite simply: changing your thoughts can change your life!

Sound too good to be true?  It’s not. With a lot of introspection and a little homework, you will be well on your way to mastering your mind.

In my upcoming blog posts, I will shed light on the core principles of CBT. Today, however, we will begin to explore  the foundation upon which CBT is built.

The first step in understanding CBT is to understand that feelings, actions, and thoughts are always connected.

Image result for CBT triangle

Here is an example of this triangle in action:

Situation:  I have an upcoming blog post deadline & a mountain of laundry looming in the other room. If my thought is…I’ll NEVER get this blog post done in time, I immediately feel ANXIOUS. This feeling of dread might cause me to avoid doing either task & instead, binge watch 1,000 episodes of Odd Mom Out.  

My negative (all or nothing-always /never) thinking in this situation led to anxiety and avoidance…Not to mention some serious mind sucking t.v. time…which does little to help me conquer the Everest of Underwear in the other room.

With a small mommy mind makeover, I will rewind this scenario & hopefully end up with a more productive outcome.

Situation:  I have an upcoming blog post deadline & a mountain of laundry looming in the other room. If my thought is…This blog post deadline is looming & so is the laundry. I’ve been in this situation before & I managed to get it all done. If I stay relaxed, I will be more productive.  As a result, I feel less ANXIOUS and more hopeful.  This new feeling of calm helps me to work on each task a little at a time and eventually get both of the tasks done. …Which in turn allows time for a glass of wine &  2 episodes of Odd Mom Out. 

This mind makeover is obviously a win/win for booze, BRAVO & Borax! 

Image result for quote about thoughts

Your homework this week is simple:

1) Put on your big girl panties… (Hopefully they’re clean!)

2)  Put a lot of thought into situations that trigger you to feel anxious, overwhelmed, etc..&  jot them down. 

3) Stay tuned….In upcoming posts, we will explore how to label these thoughts and (if they are irrational), change them.

 

Happy Mommin’ –

Angie Glancy