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8 Destructive thinking patterns and how to change them

It can be extremely difficult to focus on the good when, seemingly, bad things are happening in your life. However you can train your mind to focus on the good things in your life rather than dwelling on the bad. No it’s not one of those positive thinking articles that you’ve read all over the web and are sick and tired of. This is about changing the way you think, changing your thinking pattern. Do you use any of these thinking patterns in your day to day life?

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8 destructive patterns of thinking

  1. ‘Life is shit’ Thinking pattern –Everything in life is bad, everybody is not to be trusted and nothing good will ever happen to them e.g. “I won’t get that job, the interviewer didn’t like me, I didn’t particularly like them anyway.”
  2. ‘Unsubstantiated conclusive’ Thinking pattern– You tend to make a lot of conclusions without any evidence to back up your conclusions. This can be a really destructive pattern as it can limit you in seeing reality for what it is e.g. “He walks a bit funny, he must be gay.” (I actually heard someone saying this about a colleague last week).
  3. ‘Never to me’ Thinking pattern – This is when you think nothing good will ever happen to you. This can be a deep seated way of thinking and it is a deep down inability to believe you are worthy of anything good happening to you e.g. “I’ll never have money, I’ve never had it before so I’ll never have it in the future, might as well carry on with this shitty job, at least it pays the mortgage.”
  4. ‘The negative psychic’ Thinking pattern – Presuming you know what people are thinking about you and it’s all bad. e.g. “She thinks I’m an idiot, I’ll try to avoid talking to her.”
  5. ‘Should, would, could’ Thinking pattern – This type of person knows what they have to do to change their life, they are capable and they know it and they would do it if only……… e.g. “I know I could go to university and I would, but I’m just to busy with other things right now, I’ll apply next year.”
  6. ‘Emotion based’ Thinking pattern – Your emotions control what you are thinking and therefore your vision of what reality is e.g. “I feel incapable of doing that so I must be incapable”.
  7. ‘It’s all my fault’ Thinking pattern – You see yourself as being the cause of everything bad that has happened e.g. “It’s my fault he left me for another woman.” You’ll notice this type of person does not take responsibility for the good things that happen.
  8. ‘They’re all wrong’ Thinking pattern – You see everyone as incapable of doing anything right and your way is the best way to do it e.g. “He can’t do it right, I’ll stay late tonight and fix it when he’s gone.”

These are just some of the common thinking patterns I have come across in my life and I have used some of them myself, I used to use mix the ‘Never to me’ and ‘The negative psychic’ thinking patterns about everything, “She’ll never go out with me she thinks I’m an idiot.” I made a conscious effort to change what I believed about myself and what I believed about the world and it has literally changed my life.

How to change the destructive thinking patterns

The first stage of changing is to recognise the problem – You will find a lot of people in life who just don’t think there is a problem so there is no need to change. If this is you then do nothing. If you want to change you must think there is a need and you will start to recognise what things need to change and it usually starts with your perception of life. Everybody’s perception of life is different, therefore everyone’s reality is different. I don’t live in the same world as you and you don’t live in the same world as me. That might sound a strange concept to some people, but think about it for a few minutes, it could change the way you see the world. I’ll give you an example:

In 2004 I took a redundancy package from my place of employment and received about £10,000 for my troubles, not a lot at all when I was earning £25,000 a year when I left. I was speaking to my friend about it and he thought I was absolutely nuts to do it, especially since I was married with two children. I explained to him how free I felt and what plans I had to start an online book dealing business and my wife was right behind me. He still thought I was crazy. My perception of the world was one of opportunity, life was great and I was free from the rat race for a while and I would get to see my wife and children a lot more than I had, I was ecstatic and if it didn’t work out I had a lot of skills to offer another employer. My friends perception was one of doom and gloom, he needed the security of a full time job even though he hated it and was working 12 hours per day. It turns out I worked at it for 1 year made a good profit but gave it up due to a huge downturn in business. At the end of it I was still optimistic as I knew I was good enough to get another job until I could do something else.

Everybody’s view of the world is different and it all comes down to the thinking patterns you use in your daily life. If you think life is wonderful you will notice the wonderful things in your life, if you think life is shit you will find shit things about life. Change your thoughts and you literally change the world you are living in. First you have to recognise your destructive thinking pattern.

The second stage is to be aware of when you are using the destructive thinking patterns – We can employ different thinking patterns depending on what we are doing in life. For example you could use a positive thinking pattern at work as you are very confident in your ability and yet use a destructive one when it comes to looking for love. Recognising when you use destructive thinking patterns can help you to change that pattern. Now that you have recognised when you use the destructive thinking patterns it is now time to change it.

The third stage is to replace the bad with the good – This is something that you don’t do immediately. You don’t say to yourself ‘I’ll never be able to do that”, which is you old thinking pattern, to “Oh yes I can”. That won’t work. You have to let the old pattern die slowly whilst slowly introducing your new improved thinking pattern. Here an example:

You are out in a club and you want to talk to someone you are attracted to. Your thoughts are “ She’ll never talk to me, she’s gorgeous.” You will immediately recognise this pattern of thinking and tell yourself something good about yourself e.g. “I’m good at _______(FILL IN THE BLANK), it can be anything. This will not immediately help your situation but it will slowly begin to change your old destructive thinking pattern with a new one.

This stage takes place over time and is not done immediately. The best time to change a destructive thinking pattern is to let it run it’s course and slowly replace it with a thinking pattern that is better for you. I know people want a microwave life, stick it in the micro and it’s ready in 3 minutes, your life is not like that and you cannot change in 1 day, unless something drastic happens.
You can work on more than 1 destructive thinking pattern at a time.

To recap

To change your thinking pattern you have to

Recognise
Be aware
Slowly change and introduce a new thinking pattern
Keep working on all your destructive thinking patterns

Change your life with your new way of thinking

Recognising and changing your way of thinking can be a long process depending on what patterns of thinking you employ and how badly you want to change. People can change, do change and change for the rest of their lives, I know I have, so don’t be thinking you’ll never be able to change, you can and you will if you really want to.

After a few months you will see a huge difference in your life and you will want to use your new way of thinking to good effect. You will start to notice new types of people enter into your life who can help you reach the goals you have in life and in turn you will help them reach their goals, don’t worry about how just now.
Take time to think about your goals and take the time often to do this. I take time every day to think about where I want to be in life and slowly but surely it happens. Personally I find it better in the morning to really think about my goals and then again at night just before I am falling asleep. It works for me but you will have to experiment a little to find your way of thinking about your goals.

I hope this article has helped you a little. If you feel you would like to say something about it why not leave a comment.

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About Steven Aitchison

I am the creator of Change Your Thoughts (CYT) blog and love writing and speaking about personal development, it truly is my passion. There are over 500 articles on this site from myself and some great guest posters.
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