Hi, and welcome back to Talk Therapy Channel on YouTube. My name is Tammy Fletcher, and I’m a licensed marriage and family therapist in the state of California.
This is the second video in our Reboot Your Life series. The first was Reboot Your Relationship and I will put a link to that video in the down bar if you’d like to have a look.
Today’s topic for the second video in our series is Reboot Your Brain. And what I mean by that is looking at old patterns, ways of thinking, that no longer work for you.
They don’t make your life better. They don’t feel healthy, and they don’t fit with the person that you want to be and the life that you want to live.
The types of thinking that we want to reboot and change are things like self-judgment or criticism, comparing yourself to others, always looking at the negative in a situation.
We want to look at those patterns and see how we can take them apart a little bit and turn them around into a more positive and healthy way of thinking.
This video will talk about ways of breaking free from old thought patterns and reboot your brain. Our thoughts are like our own internal message system and they’re pretty much going constantly. Most of the time.
Thoughts can lead to feelings or emotions and feelings and emotions then lead to behaviors. So you see, you kind of create a cycle with your thoughts. That tells you that the kind of thoughts you have can affect not only how you feel, but how you act.
Taking some time to examine your thought process is a great first step in changing your life for the better. You want to look at the patterns of thought that you have and kind of figure out if that fits the way that you really want to be in the world.
Life can often be stressful enough. But I don’t know if you’ve had the experience, I think most people have, where your thoughts can actually sort of feed into a situation and make it worse.
You can actually kind of take those thoughts apart. Dismantle them, and replace them with something a little bit healthier.
One habit that most of us can get into that’s almost guaranteed to trip you up and lead to faulty thinking is to believe that every thought you have is fact. Thoughts are just thoughts.
They’re not necessarily true, and they’re not necessarily facts. But maybe you found it’s very easy to latch onto those negative thoughts as if they were facts.
And then allow them to carry you along on a negative cycle. The first way to start to deal with that is to challenge those thoughts. What I mean by that, and it sounds incredibly simple, is to notice when you have a negative thought pop up in your head.
And I’ll give you an example in just a moment. When the negative thought pops up, take a look at that thought for a second. Just sort of examine it.
Kind of step back, take a look at it and ask yourself, “Is it true? Is that thought true? Is what I’m telling myself, this internal dialogue, is that a fact?”
So here’s an example. Let’s say you are telling yourself—the thought pops up in your head, “I cannot complete this project. I am going to fail.”
So you’re going to take a look at that thought. Notice it, and ask yourself, “Is that true?” Well, maybe not. It’s predicting the future, which doesn’t always come true. It’s assuming a lot of things, and it may be coming from a place of fear.
So then you have a chance, now that you’ve kind of taken that thought apart a little bit to ask yourself, “Okay, well, if it’s not really true, if it may be false, how much energy do I want to spend on that thought? On feeding that fire? On allowing myself to get caught up in that cycle of that negative thought?”
So instead of allowing thoughts like that to set you up for failure, you have the chance to dismantle them. To take a look at them and challenge them and then you can find if they’re not really accurate, you can replace them with something that is more factual and more healthy.
In the example that I gave you just a moment ago, you may want to replace it with something like, “Okay, I’ve got this project, maybe it’s very challenging, and maybe I’m a little frustrated about it, but I’m going to give it my best shot.”
By looking at it from a different perspective by kind of switching the wording around, changing from a negative focus to a more positive, more realistic focus, you have a chance to sort of rewire that negative thinking and replace it with something much more positive and productive.
We all have negative thoughts sometimes, and sometimes they are true. So the goal is not to eliminate every possible negative thought that you might have, but it is to challenge those that aren’t serving you and that may not be the most healthy and the most productive for the life that you want to live.
By making a simple change like this, you can enhance your life, and increase your sense of well-being. You can even take it a step further. You can begin to list out those types of negative or distorted thoughts.
I have a list on my website, and I give it out to my clients very often in private practice. It’s written by Dr. David Burns. He wrote a book that many people have.
It’s called Feeling Good, it’s a bright yellow, small paperback book. This is one of his books, the Feeling Good Handbook.
He has some great practical advice for dealing with distorted thinking and ways of changing the way you think to change the way your life is going and to improve it.
So I have Dr. Burns list of distorted thought patterns on my website. I’m going to put a link down below so that you can go for free, no obligation, you don’t have to sign in or anything like that, you can just download that form and have a look at it and see which thought patterns that you identify with.
The other thing that you might want to do is download what I’m going to include also which is a sort of a chart for you to keep track of distorted thinking or negative thoughts.
For example, you put down what the negative thought is, maybe the situation in which it occurred, and then what you might prefer to replace that thought with.
An example of using a distorted thought pattern record might be something like, “I’m fat and ugly.” There’s your negative thought.
Writing that down and then, “What might I replace that with? Well, I could lose a few pounds, but I love myself as I am inside and out.” It’s kind of like going back to affirmations and applying that idea to the types of thoughts that go through your head.
All of this might feel kind of awkward at first, but that’s true of any new habit or new skill. So practice it regularly and often enough and it will become a part of you.
Thank you so much for watching. As always, I welcome your comments below and don’t forget to check the links in the down bar for some helpful tools to help you reboot your brain.
About the author
Tammy Fletcher is a licensed marriage and family therapist in San Deigo. She welcomes new clients for individual, couples, and family counseling, and has appointment availability in the mornings, afternoons, and evenings, for your convenience.
To know more Tammy, visit her website, http://www.fletchertherapy.com/
Visit her on TalkTherapyChannel on YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/TalkTherapyChannel
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