Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wellness Wednesday - Getting Unstuck from Negative Thoughts

Latest in a series of blog posts based on "Train Your Brain to Get Happy" by Aubele, Wenck, & Reynolds.

Did you know that your brain can get stuck in negative thought patterns? When this happens, your amygdala (emotion) underreacts and the frontal areas (control) overreact, and you tend to have even more negative thoughts.

How can you change this pattern?

  • Recognize your patterns. Most people have some of the following three types:
    • Guilt
    • Negative interpretation of others' thoughts
    • Self-fulfilling prophecies of bad events/actions
  • Force yourself to think happy thoughts. You can use objects, pictures, or journal entries to recall happy times. This will change your brain by creating new synapses and lifting your mood.
  • When you fall into bad patterns, give yourself reason to disbelieve them. For example, if you felt bad about doing something over which you had no control, or couldn't foresee the outcome, give yourself a break. 
  • Write a new ending--a positive interpretation of the thoughts of others, or see yourself being successful. 
  • Distract yourself with a enjoyable activity. 
How do you change your negative thought patterns?