Stinking Thinking also known as (aka) Cognitive Distortions aka as Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTS).
What are Stinking Thinking Styles?
Negative thoughts you tend to pay attention to frequently, maybe right now.
Negative thoughts you have come to believe as the truth.
Negative thoughts have become reinforced and are damaging to your emotions and your life!
When you act on these distortions life becomes sadder and more miserable.
Let’s recognize and expose them.
How do You Recognize Stinking Thinking?
- We all have them from time to time.
- When you have social anxiety, feel overwhelmed and sad, they seem so “normal.” You have them a lot and you begin to believe they are true.
- They can and often worsen the situation.
- They are irrational thoughts.
- If they are not downright false, they are not accurate. They are like fake news.
4. STINKING THINKING STYLES
- Conclusion based on one event
- Everything is all good
- Nothing is ever good (never, always, every time or everyone). “I will never be happy again.” I always mess up everything.
- Blowing things out of proportion
- It’s an emergency or a catastrophe.
- You ignore or dismiss the positives
- It’s not possible that you really might be amazing
- All or None Thinking
- This is also known as black and white
- Situations, people, your actions are all good or all bad. If someone doesn’t speak with you then everyone might avoid you. You might also see that as “I must be a boring person. I will always be alone.”
- Things are either amazing, awesome, astounding or awful, appalling and terrible.
- So you might stop trying since you think it has to be perfectly done or not at all.
Sometimes you can have several of these at the same time. This tends to increase feelings of anxiety, sadness and “stuckiness.” You feel stuck and helpless.
4 TIPS TO COPE WITH STINKING THINKING
- Identify your automatic negative thoughts.
- What was the situation?
- Catch and label the thoughts, write them down (journal, note on your phone etc)
- Note the feelings and statements related to the thoughts.
- Are there alternatives based on what is actually happening?
- Are you using “always, never, every, ought to, must?”
- Separate Fact from Opinion
- Nobody will speak with me.
- I am stupid.
- I ate too many candy bars.
- Nobody loves me.
- Everyone must be staring at me.
- I failed the test.
- On and on and on and on.
What are some opinions you are accepting as facts?
- Identify the Rules and Assumptions you are living by
Why must you always do a perfect job?
Why should you finish the job today or else….?
Why must it be done only that way?
Why can’t you make that presentation?
What are your rules and assumptions? What are they preventing you from?
- Clearly State the Predicted Catastrophe
How likely is it to happen?
How frequently have you known it to happen?
What was the severity?
How did you cope when it did happen?
Consider your resources and what you could do?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy strategies have been shown to be effective in coping with social anxiety disorder.
For more information about working with me
This is the first of two series about negative automatic thoughts. Please stay tuned.