Last week was an introduction on how to spot unhealed trauma within ourselves & those around us.
This week I’d like to focus on identifying your thought patterns. Many of us are guilty of having negative thoughts, some more than others.
Our emotional reactions stem from how we think about things that happen.
As people, we have a tendency of wanting to understand our world & we create stories to explain events.
A major challenge with understanding these thoughts that drive emotions out of us is that they don’t always announce themselves.
We think we’re mad by the event that took place but in reality we’re bothered by our interpretation of it.
We typically experience an event that stirs emotions within us & it’s hard to evaluate thoughts that we don’t recognize as thoughts.
For this reason, be mindful to practice recognizing your thoughts & beliefs.
I find that when writing your thoughts down you begin to change your relationship with them. When you see these thoughts on paper or on screen, you can see what is in fact true & what may be a false projection based off your interpretation of something.
When trying to identify these thoughts, keep in mind they’re most likely regarding the past, present, or the future.
Sometimes thoughts can be perceived as an image or impression.
Ex. You think you’re weak. In turn you may envision yourself feeling small & powerless or you may imagine your inner child appearing frightened & scared.
While practicing to identify your thoughts, keep in mind how they may or may not be in the form of words.
Typically an event sparks a thought that leads to an emotion & sometimes we spiral.
We get trapped in our heads, begin overthinking, creating scenarios & before you know it, you’re down a rabbit hole of negative thoughts that most likely aren’t even true.
When interpreting information or things that have occurred, be open to more perspectives than just your own level of perception.
It takes time to challenge your thought process especially when most of us have never thought of challenging our thoughts prior to this moment, but it isn’t impossible & with practice it can be done!
A lot of us are conditioned to work hard & worry. Worry about all the work that needs to get done, worry about all the things we still don’t have, worrying about when it’ll come, it’s truly a vicious cycle & if you’re unaware of it, it can take a toll on you & your mental health.
It’s important to challenge your thoughts & pinpoint if what you’re feeling is based on factual information or if you’re feeling emotional based on your level of interpretation.
I feel called to remind you all that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being emotional or having feelings. We just need to broaden our ways of thinking so we can identify our feelings in a more mature way & so we don’t unnecessarily put ourselves in negative spaces.
Sometimes our thinking alone can put us in a funk without realizing it.
Something else I’d like to touch on is the importance of not claiming your negative thoughts or feelings as your reality.
Words are spells, that’s why it’s called spelling.
When we have negative thoughts or feelings, it’s important to identify what you’re thinking & feeling but to also give yourself the grace & space to let it pass.
Society has taught us to pile the pressures of life on so thick that we take on all of these thoughts & feelings to carry without unpacking them.
Because of this, we must challenge ourselves along with our thoughts & unpack all of the traumas, feelings, & emotions. In doing so, you’ll realize what’s truly yours to carry & what isn’t.
While doing this work, please remember to be gentle & kind to yourself. Challenging your thoughts is not an easy task but one that’s well worth it.
Attached are some worksheets that’ll help you identify your thought patterns. Repeat this process as many times as needed. These worksheets are prompts from a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy workbook I came across & have worked on. The 7 week program helped me to identify my negative thinking patterns & challenge myself to think from a higher level of perception. My hope is that they will help you as well or at least spark a thought, no pun intended.
Next week we’ll continue to cover more ways to transmute & heal ourselves.
Grant yourself the grace & humility you give to others.
You’re worthy & important too.