Mandy Kloppers

Negative automatic thoughts

Did you know that you have negative automatic thoughts (NAT’s) every single day? We all do. Whether it’s chastising ourselves over being late, spilling our tea/coffee or just making an error in judgement, we all do it to a certain degree.
Think about the long term effects of talking negatively to yourself. That continuous inner stream of negative self talk. It would affect anybody.
The trick is to start becoming more aware of what the content of your thoughts are. (I call this your ‘mental diet’).This is the first step to counteracting this negative phenomenon.

“Oh I feel so lazy today. What’s wrong with me?” – This is a good example. There is nothing “wrong” with you but we internalise laziness as a fault within us rather than just allowing ourselves to have a less pressured moment/day. Instead of asking what is wrong with us, it would be far more beneficial to say something like “I am feeling very lazy right now but there are many times when I work so hard and therefore I deserve this bit of time off”.

I encounter NAT’s ALL THE TIME when chatting to my clients and most of the time they are not even aware of their negative automatic thougts as they have become so much a part of their ‘make up’, a normal part of their day.
“Do better, be better, achieve more, compare…compare”  – all self defeating behaviours. Don’t engage in them. It is of no benefit to you nor is it helpful. There are other ways to motivate yourself that are much kinder and encourage healthy self esteem and confidence
After the first step of identifying your NAT’s (write them down if necessary), look for alternative ways to talk to yourself. Is there another way?
Instead of “you are fat and lazy” how about “I may not be perfect but I am very good at…..” or “I could lose some weight and I am working on this but it doesn’t mean I am not valuable, or wonderful in many other ways”. I am not saying that you should not want to improve but rather that starting at a place
where there is healthy acceptance of “what is” will get you much further than starting on the back foot of “I am not good enough”, for example.
Focus on strengths and minimise weaknesses…the key to healthy self confidence
Watch those negative automatic thoughts and challenge…challenge…challenge. Where is the evidence? Ask yourself what you would say to a best friend or someone you cared about. You definitely wouldn’t call them fat or lazy.

There are NO excuses for talking down to yourself – EVER….reframe your thinking. It will change/affect your life experience not just your internal dialogue.  🙂

Mandy x

Photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash