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How to deal with toxic thoughts

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Since I can remember I have been a perfectionist and type A personality. This has some advantages, however it has the overwhelming disadvantage that the person from whom I demand most is myself. As a consequence I found my mind flooded with toxic thoughts. In this post I will focus on how to avoid or at least control them.

I believe there are three types of thoughts: productive, cleansing and toxic.

The productive thoughts are those that result in some type of action and generate momentum. For example “I will take actions A and B for result C”, “I feel good doing this, I will do it more”.

Cleansing thoughts are my favorite because they occur when we daydream, when we allow ourselves the luxury of pondering. They are the mind’s spa day.

And finally, toxic thoughts are more common than we would like, they are the ones that stop actions, generate or exacerbate negative feelings and cloud our judgment.

Before you can stop a toxic thought you need to acknowledge it for what it is. I have found that most of the times they refer to generalized statements which do not hold in reality. These sound like “I always fail”, “I am not good enough”, “People will laugh at me” etc. Another characteristic is that they tend to go around in circles: there is an outside trigger (like a new situation, a pending decision, an argument with someone), we issue the statement in our mind, then we try and find validation in the past or in our imagination only to magnify and repeat the same thing.

So how do we break the circle?

⁃ First of all, stop trying to validate the thought and start finding proof against it. This will happen fast enough especially if we are dealing with a generalization.

⁃ Focus on the present, what you are actually doing, where you are, what you have and be grateful for these things.

⁃ Write the opposite of what you are thinking down on a piece of paper and turn in into an affirmation.

⁃ If you are afraid of something, picture the worst thing that could happen and then make a plan of how you would handle it.

⁃ Remember, that everyone has these thoughts at some point in their lives, the trick is to control them.

To sum up, I recommend you look inside your mind and identify the toxic thought which comes up most often and prove it wrong. You can use what I listed or your own method. The next time a new one appears you will already know what to do.

Depending on the situation you are in and the type of thoughts you are having, there are also more advanced techniques that can be used. If you are interested in this topic, please leave a comment on this post.

2 thoughts on “How to deal with toxic thoughts

  1. Hello 🙂 Mi-a placut mult postarea despre gandurile toxice. Si eu ma lupt cu ele. Tehnicile mele se regasesc printe cele enumerate de tine. Din pacate suntem expusi la atat de multe lucruri, cunoastem atat de multi oameni, personal ori doar virtual, incat uneori e greu sa nu te compari cu ei, sa nu ajungi sa crezi ca tu esti mai prejos. Nimic mai gresit, as spune eu. Dar na, uneori ratiunea ramane codasa. Si overthinking este un “sport extrem”. Si pe asta il practic uneori, iar atunci cand aflu “adevarul” raman socata de ce imaginatie am si cat de mult am denaturat realitatea.
    Concluzie: ti-am scris ca sa te felicit,in primul rand: foarte bun articolul! si ca sa te intreb daca imi poti trimite mai multe detalii despre tehnicile avansate de tinut “demonii” in frau.

    Mersi, Silv! Te pupacesc!

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    1. Mulțumesc mult, Irina! Ți-am trimis un e-mail cu o tehnica tare drăguța și simpla.
      Cred ca toată lumea se confrunta cu aceste probleme. Ceea ce îmi propun este sa deschid astfel de discuții care cred ca ajuta la constientizarea faptului ca exista soluții și nu suntem singuri.
      Nu sunt nici terapeut, nici psiholog, sunt doar o persoana care se documentează și dorește sa împărtășească informațiile și cu ceilalti 🙂

      Like

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