Negative thinking can have a huge effect on how we react to certain situations. It can cause unnecessary stress and anxiety that could lead to a full-blown panic attack. Negative thoughts can cause chaos, deep sorrow, regret and shame in some situations.
Negative Thinking – here is a fictional relationship type scenario!
Julie and her boyfriend Luke have been together for eight years and have been living together for the past three. They have a very loving, happy relationship and enjoy a nice lifestyle. Julie can sometimes be a bit possessive where Luke is concerned but this has never caused any big issues between them.
Julie has been asked by her boss to go out and buy some groceries for the office. She has just entered the high street when she sees Luke with another woman going into a coffee shop. They are laughing and chatting.
Julie’s first thoughts are, ‘He’s cheating on me, after all, this time we’ve been together, how could he!’
She starts to feel sick and feels her hands and legs begin to tremble. Her mind blanks completely for a few minutes and then she becomes extremely angry. At this point in time, Julie is unable to think rationally and is certainly out of control. Her one thought of Luke ‘cheating‘ was the trigger to her mental and physical feelings that lead to her forthcoming aggressive behavior.
This is how Julie finally reacted because of her negative thinking…
Julie seething with anger storms into the coffee shop asking them both in a very loud voice what they thought they were up to! Luke was totally surprised to see her and certainly taken aback by her aggressive approach, he tried to calm her down by introducing his friend but Julie was not listening to him. In the end, the lady left embarrassed that people were looking at them. Luke ushered Julie outside totally mortified and shocked by her over the top aggressive behavior. An argument ensued on the street with Julie ending up in floods of tears and Luke storming off now really angry himself. On returning to work everyone in the office could see Julie was upset and had been crying. Julie did not speak to any of her colleagues for the rest of the day and this caused Chinese whispers around the office.
This was the true situation…
Luke was on his way to the bank when he bumped into one of his old university friends from five years ago. The lady is now married and has just moved into the town because of her husband’s new job. Luke had simply asked her if she had time for a quick catch up over a coffee. He was just about to ask the lady if she and her husband would like to meet up with him and Julie for drinks sometime when Julie aggressively confronted them.
Julie could have thought differently…
I wonder who that is, perhaps a work colleague? He’s bound to tell me later if he doesn’t I’ll ask him. We have a strong, loving relationship, I don’t think he would cheat on me, he is not that type he’s too honest about everything. Although it has me thinking, I’m going to wait and see if he tells me, rather than me ask him. Julie felt a bit concerned, she found it hard to concentrate on things at work but kept herself quiet and got on with her day. There was no embarrassment, no argument, no one at work was any the wiser and no angry confrontation later when she went home to Luke.
Or Julie could have if, she had stopped to think rationally and stayed in control…
Gone into the cafe, smiled and said, “I just caught sight of you when coming out of the shop. I waved but you didn’t see me.”
Luke would have then have introduced his friend and why they were in the cafe etc. Julie’s mind would have been put to rest because there simply was no situation.
If Julie had not immediately put two and two together and come up with five, she would still have her loving relationship intact. She would not have embarrassed herself, Luke or his friend. There would have been no gossip-mongering at her workplace and, she still had to face Luke later that day. The worst outcome is that Julie’s relationship with Luke could be in serious jeopardy simply because of a negative thought.
This may seem a little elaborate but situations like this can happen.
1- Stop and step back. Don’t act immediately!
2 – Pause.
3 – Take a breath, and notice your breath as you breathe slowly in through your nose and slowly out through your mouth.
4 – Observe! What am I thinking and feeling?
5 – Is this fact or opinion?
6 – Pull back – put in some perspective!
7 – See the situation as an outside observer.
8 – Is there another way of looking at it?
9 – Practice what works!
10 – Do what works and what helps.
11 – Will It be effective and appropriate?
Not every one of these suggestions will be utilized, it all depends on the situation, event or thought.
When we think about things differently, it allows issues to be seen through a clearer window and will change our reaction to dealing and coping with it. Remember stop, breathe then think rationally!
Jan, Life Coach You