Identifying Toxic Thought Patterns

Hi! Today we'll talk about one of the first (and most important) steps of the Neuroplasticity Process- recognizing toxic thought patterns




What are Toxic Thoughts?


Toxic thoughts are a cluster of negative words or phrases that come to mind and cause feelings of unworthiness, overall sadness, and even anxiety. The first few toxic thoughts may seem harmless and inevitable, but it's when they form into a never ending cycle that becomes damaging. If you find yourself stuck and unable to move on with your life, it's probably because what you're thinking, limits you from doing so. And if you let them control you, then they will absolutely stop you from achieving your goals and you will stay in that same place. Acknowledging your toxic thoughts is the first step in creating newer, healthier ones.


What do Toxic Thoughts Look Like?



Toxic thoughts look and feel different to everybody, but here are the most common ways we self-sabotage:


1. Fear of never being good enough


The moment you realize how unhealthy and harmful this is, will be the moment you'll be able to move forward and achieve anything you've ever wanted to. You'll know you're thinking this way when these thoughts prevent you from doing something because you're doubting your potential. The truth is, you have always been and will always be, good enough. No matter how much anyone reminds you of your worth, unless you believe it yourself, nothing will ever change.


2. Jumping to conclusions (Catastrophic Thinking)


Slow down. Ask yourself what's true and what's not. When we're unsure about what will happen next, we're automatically inclined to fill that gap ourselves and come up with our own scenarios. When our brain completes patterns, we're rewarded with dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes us feel good. This is why we're so likely to quickly come up with our own solutions and scenarios, especially drastic ones that won't really happen. So stop for a minute and think about the likeliness of that event actually happening.


3. Dwelling on the past


It's in the past because it already happened. You can't go back in time and you can't undo what's already been done. There's no point reminiscing and blaming yourself for how things should've gone or what you should've done. Instead, grow from it and use those experiences to help you in the future and to help shape you into the person you want to be.


4. Comparison of yourself to others


"She's so much better than me at...", "He has this and I don't", "I want to be like...".


You're you for a reason. You're different. You shouldn't strive to be like anyone else and you shouldn't want to take your originality away. Everyone is at a different stage in their life and you cannot compare your beginning or process to someone else's end results. Be grateful for what you have and be hopeful for what's to come. Trust that your time will come too.


5. Thinking change and growth aren't possible


Keep a growth mindset, stop thinking you can't change. Your thoughts, your actions, YOU are always subject to change and you can become happier, smarter, and better whenever you choose to. Growth is difficult, but so is being trapped in an endless loop of self deprecation and unhappiness. You get to choose which one you want to change.


6. Worrying about something before it happens


There is absolutely no reason to do this. When you think about something that hasn't happened yet, you're putting yourself through it twice. Let it happen naturally and be accepting of any outcome. What if it does work out exactly how you wanted it or better? Entertain that thought.


7. Worrying about changing others


You can't change others and that's just a fact. They don't have to like you and you don't have to care. The only person you can control is yourself. So use that power to change how you react to situations. When your mindset is right, you'll make better decisions and get better results.


8. Thinking we're always right


Let go of this egotistical mindset and allow yourself to see new perspectives and ideas. When your mind is open and your conscience is clear, you'll learn new things and see life from a different point of view. You don't always have to be right, you just need to be open to growing and challenging yourself to always become better.


9. Becoming upset over your emotions


Listen to your emotions. Sometimes anger is your body's way of telling you you're ready to change things. Sadness tells us what we care about. Happiness tells us what we need to do more of. Your feelings are valid and when you learn to accept them as they come, you'll understand the message they're trying to tell you.


10. Depending on others for your happiness


This will never, ever work. The only person that can make you happy- is you. And if you can't do that yourself, how would you expect someone else to do it? The extra pressure isn't beneficial for them or yourself.




So to summarize, I'm not telling you to be happy all the time- quite frankly, that's almost impossible. Everyone has bad days, but that doesn't mean you need to sit there and sulk about it. Instead, stop for a minute and realize the effect your thoughts are having on you. Ask yourself:


"Is this thought helping me right now?"


or


"How does this make me feel?"


If it isn't helping you or if it's making you feel any sort of negative way, then why are you thinking about it? Let it go. There's no need to put additional stress on yourself over something that's out of your control, especially if it's doing more harm than good. All the unnecessary worry, panic, and fear can be stopped if you're able to identify your destructive thoughts and end them before they evolve into something more.





Remember, you can't stop thinking but you can change your thoughts :) I'll see you in my next post!

Sources:


Razzetti, Gustavo. “How to Free Your Mind from Toxic Behaviors.” Medium, Personal Growth, 12 Aug. 2019, medium.com/personal-growth/how-to-free-your-mind-from-toxic-behaviors-7dd9c9cbdb9d.