Healthy Thinking Matters Northern Rivers Counselling Australia

Healthy Thinking Matters

Keep Your Thoughts In Check

Many people believe that their thoughts control them, but the truth is that most of the time we are in control of our thoughts. We do not allow unfounded, untrue thoughts to run our lives; we choose to think positively. The simplest answer is to cease the behaviour! But this takes practice. So, if you want a healthy mind, it is a good idea to practice positive thinking.

The assumption that good mental health requires only positive emotions represents a narrow and unrealistic view of human experience. Sadness, distress, and other negative feelings are part of the human condition. We all have problems at some point, but the ability to keep things in perspective and see situations for what they really are is more helpful than falling into the trap of catastrophizing, minimizing, avoiding, denying, blaming or blowing things out of proportion. Our thoughts can play tricks on us; it’s best to remember that much of the time they are not true!

Be mindful of your own cognitive biases. Your perceptions of a situation have a strong influence on your feelings about it. If you think you can handle a problem, you often feel good. If you do not think that you can handle a problem, you often feel bad.

Some thoughts lead us to believe that something is bad even when it is not true. These thoughts are referred to as ‘thinking traps’ because they are easy to fall into and can get us stuck feeling bad.

Here are some common thinking traps to be mindful of:

You may think that bad things always happen to you, but this is not necessarily true.

A student might think, ‘I did not do as well as I wanted on that last test. I am not smart enough for this course and should consider dropping it.’

Focusing on the negative aspects of a situation can lead to poor performance. For example, ‘My team won, but I cannot believe I missed that shot. I must be very bad at soccer. Maybe I should stop playing.’

Jumping to conclusions before you have all the facts is a common trap. It can lead to incorrect assumptions and affect your relationships with others.

To challenge your thinking trap, ask yourself what the facts are. When you catch yourself falling into a thinking trap, ask yourself questions to find the facts.

Questions to ask about Mental Health and Healthy Thinking:

  • Is there any proof to back up this thought I am having?
  • Have I thought about all aspects of the situation?
  • Is there anything I missed that can benefit me?
  • Have I been in this position before? What happened then and why?
  • If my friend was in the same situation, what would I say to help them?

When you have examined the facts, you can replace the unbalanced thought with a more balanced one.

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