Sunday, February 8, 2009

Reducing Negativity

As I read Barb Fredrickson's, Positivity, book I am inspired by the suggested real-life applications to improve well-being. As a self-declared "I am my own worst enemy" person ( but in recovery ..) I strive to challenge the negative self-chatter that occurs on a daily basis.
One of the ideas I definitely plan to use is an activity adapted from the Penn Resliency program. You jot down the negative, self-defeating things you say to yourself on index cards throughout the day. After you have collected these messages, you sit down with your "negativity deck" and consciously challenge these erroneous beliefs. Many of the negative thoughts and messages are irrational old scripts, no longer useful or accurate in any way.

Here are some of mine, which I will bravely share, followed by refuting comments.
  • You're so lazy for not working out last night! comeback: " You didn't get a chance to work out last night because you worked late and didn't get home until 9:00!"
  • You are so selfish for taking so much time writing for your blog! comeback: "You have been wanting to write consistently for years now. Good for you!"
  • You have no self control, eating those cookies! comeback: "Life is too short not to eat cookies ( within reason :-) ) "
  • You are a bad mom! You don't call your kids every day. comeback: You do the best you can. You call regularly, talk online with Stef almost daily and text Nick to show you care. You allow your kids to have their own lives.
  • He didn't email me. I must be unlovable. comeback: He was busy studying. You know how much he loves you!
The idea behind this activity is key! Negative thoughts are quick and powerful and we can combat their effects by challenging them aloud. When you find yourself dwelling on a negative, examine it, refute it! Don't let it take hold as the belief of the moment. We have the power to impact our own emotions using techniques that help us examine and alter our thought patterns. We need to embrace that power and thrive through the positive reframing of negative thoughts.

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