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Are negative thoughts getting you down?

A year on from the start of the pandemic and many people are struggling with the thought that there is still a way to go before a return to the freedoms we knew before.

Maybe one or more of the following phrases resonates with you?

“I’m stuck at home”

“I miss the things I love”

“I can’t see my friends”

“This is never going to end”

“My life is so boring right now”

These thoughts and feelings are completely understandable and after such a difficult year it’s no wonder that there are times when we feel overwhelmed by negativity.

The problem can be when these thoughts get a real grip on us leading to a constant feeling of anxiety or depression.

So is there anything we can do to help to shift our thought patterns?

The good news is that there is a technique called “Reframing” that can help us to see things from a different perspective.

Reframing has 3 steps, Noticing, Challenging and Replacing

Step 1 Noticing

The first step is to catch yourself when you're slipping into overly negative patterns of thinking. Being aware of them is an important part of challenging and ultimately changing them. One thing you can do is just become more mindful of your thoughts, as though you're an observer. When you catch negative thinking styles, just note them at first. If you want, you can even write them down, maybe in a journal.

Step 2 Challenging

As you notice your negative thoughts, ask yourself whether these things are true and consider whether there’s another way of interpreting or seeing the circumstances. Instead of seeing things the way you always have, challenge every negative thought, and see if you can adopt thoughts that fit your situation but reflect a more positive outlook.

Step 3 Replacing

When you're looking at something negative, see if you can change your self-talk to use less strong, less negative emotions. When you're looking at a potentially stressful situation, see if you can view it as a challenge versus a threat. Look for the 'gift' in each situation, and see if you can see things in a way that still fits the facts of your situation, but that is less negative and more optimistic and positive.

Here are some suggestions for ways of replacing those negative thoughts

Negative thoughts Reframe

I’m stuck at home I’m safe at home

I miss the things I love I really appreciate the things I love

I can’t see my friends My friends and I are protecting each other

This is never going to end Life constantly changes and nothing lasts forever

My life is so boring right now Now I can focus on myself and those I live with

All of my plans are ruined Plans change and I can adapt

No one understands I’m not alone in how I feel

It feels scary when I can’t control everything I can cope with whatever happens

Many people are surprised at what a big impact reframing can have on their stress levels and anxiety.

Changing the way you look at your life can truly change your life.

We may not be able to control what’s happening to us but we can control how we react.

If you would like to know more about how to manage anxiety my six session programme “Overcoming stress and anxiety” could help. To find out more please get in touch

Tel 07858 463935

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