We all follow certain habits which orchestrate our daily life. But just like behavioral habits, thought patterns can be destructive. Once broken and rearranged, they can form new lines of thought, helping you to actually enjoy your life.
Here are 8 common destructive thinking patterns with tips to help you change them and lead a happier, fulfilling life:
1. You look for problems when there are none
You see problems everywhere. Where others see something good, you see a potential for disappointment and frustration. Your mind is practically conditioned to see problems. Sometimes, you might just realize that while thinking, you’re actually looking for a problem in a situation where there are none.
How to battle this tendency? When you start thinking about potential problems, just ask yourself – why should I care? Most often you’ll realize that in the long-run, you’re seeing a minor set-back, not a real problem that should occupy your mind for days. Even if you’re used to constantly looking for solutions, it doesn’t mean that you should always try to spot problems to solve. Most of the minor issues solve themselves over time anyway.
“A problem is only a problem if you refuse to look for a solution. If you don’t take action to fix it then it will remain a problem.” – Catherine Pulsifer
2. You make conclusions without back-up facts
This sounds innocent, but might turn into a highly destructive thought pattern which can potentially disconnect your from reality. If you tend to make many conclusions without any evidence to back them up, your perspective on the world will be highly limited.
And a restricted mindset will never push you forward in life, but allow you to settle mentally and believe that you understand the world perfectly. This is basically how you close the door to future growth, so be prepared to question your own conclusions and search for more evidential support, every time.
3. You like your comfort zone a little too much
If you’re stuck to your mindset and refuse to change the direction in your thoughts, a positive change will be out of your reach. Life is about facing the unknown and learning from this encounter over and over again. Blocking yourself from accessing the scary and uncomfortable, you’re effectively sabotaging your personal growth.
What to do about it? Examine your comfort zone and then try to take a small step out of it. You’ll slowly make change less frightening and allow yourself to become more comfortable. Stretching your comfort zone, you should go back to those times when you broke out of it – took a chance or did something crazy and had the time of your life. New is fun and exciting and you won’t encounter it when locked in your comfort zone.
“Your comfort zone is not a place that you want to remain in. Dare, Discover, be all that you can be.” – Catherine Pulsifer
4. You see the world in black and white
Life is messy and never follows rules. And yet, many people see things in black and white. If you’re right, someone else must be wrong. Things are this way or that way, without any exceptions. In reality this attitude only equips you with a poorer vision of the world, muddling your thinking and making you increasingly inflexible.
In order to break that thought barrier, you need to strive to understand others by changing your point of view. Pay attention to your own thought patterns and dare to question yourself once you spot this habit. Instead of focusing on one negative thought, try to find an exception to and you’ll realize that you simply weren’t seeing the bigger picture before.
5. You invest time in making excuses
You know what you have to do to change your life, you know you want it and that you’ve got it all to do it. And yet, you stick to good old excuses helping you to move exactly nowhere and definitely not forward. Stop inventing excuses and confront yourself with the truth – if you want something, you should just go for it. Why waste time if you’ve got only one life to live?
6. You believe that what you feel right now is how you’ll always feel
This is a serious destructive thought pattern we all experience from time to time. If you catch yourself feeling bad and thinking that this is a permanent situation, you’re on the right track to changing your habit.
First, you should realize that nobody can predict the future (not even your aunt’s favorite fortune-teller). You cannot know how you’ll feel in 30 minutes, so just use your time to discipline yourself and realize that your mind isn’t always the best source of suggestions when confronting reality.
7. You’re envious of the success of others
Envy can be like a tiny monster that makes your life miserable, filling it to the brim with negativity and suffering. Instead of comparing yourself to others, focus on yourself to see how you’ve grown and what you’ve achieved. Be grateful for what you’ve got and simply get involved in your own life – spend your time living and exploring, not analyzing what others have that you don’t.
8. You just think too much
If you’re a chronic over thinker, you’ll often find yourself incapable of taking action, paralyzed by your in-depth analysis which often blows things out of proportion. Over thinking is the first step to finding negativity in the world around you. Stop thinking and start living. Be present and minimize over thinking by exchanging views with other people. Don’t let your thoughts control you – own them.
Realign yourself with the present and let go of thoughts that run around in circles inside your mind. Breathe in and consider changing thinking patterns that make you miserable. Gaining control over your life is possible, but don’t expect it to happen overnight. Changing the way you think is an excellent first step.