Mental toughness requires a three-pronged approach – managing our thoughts, which governs our emotions and behave productively despite our circumstances. While the three areas can be a struggle, often our thoughts that make it harder to be strong mentally.
As we move into our daily routines, our inner monologue tells our experience. Our internal dialogue guide our behavior and influences the way we interact with others. It also plays an important role in how you feel about yourself, others and the world in general.
Very often, however, our conscious thoughts are unrealistic. Instead, they are irrational and inaccurate. Believing our irrational thoughts can lead to a variety of problems including communication problems, relationship problems, and unhealthy choices.
Whether you are struggling to achieve their personal and professional goals, the key to success often begins with the recognition and replacement of faulty beliefs. The common thinking errors can be divided into these 10 categories, which are adapted from David Burns, Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy.
1. All-or-Nothing Thinking
Sometimes we see things as black or white. Maybe you have two categories of coworkers in your mind – the good and the bad. Or, maybe you look at each project as a success or a failure. Recognize the shades of gray, rather than put things in terms of any good or all evil.
It is easy to take a particular event and generalize the rest of our lives. If you could not close a deal, may decide, “I’m bad at close of business.” Or if you are treated badly by a family member, you might think, “Everyone in my family is rude.” Note the time when an incident can be applied only to a specific situation, rather than all other areas of life.
3. Filtering Out the Positive
If nine good things happen, and a bad thing, sometimes we filter out the good and the bad tune. Maybe declare that we had a bad day, despite the positive developments that have occurred. Or maybe we look back on our performance and declare it was terrible because we made a single mistake. Filtering positive can prevent the establishment of a realistic point of view on a situation. Develop a balanced perspective by noting both positive and negative.
We can never be sure what another person is thinking. However, everyone occasionally assume they know what is going on in the mind of another person. Thinking things like, “He must have thought I was stupid at the meeting,” makes inferences that are not necessarily based in reality. Remember that you may not be doing accurate guesses about the perceptions of others.
Sometimes we think that things are much worse than they really are. If they fall short in meeting your financial goals a month than you may think, “I’m going to end up in bankruptcy” or “I’ll never have enough money to retire,” although there is no evidence that the situation is almost calamitous. It may be easy to be drawn into catastrophism the situation once their thoughts become negative. When you start predicting gloom, remember there are many other possible outcomes.
6. Emotional Reasoning
Our emotions are not always based on reality but often assume that these feelings are rational. If you’re worried about making a career change, you can assume, “If I’m so scared of her, just should not change jobs.” Or, you may be tempted to assume, “If I feel like a loser, I must be a loser.” It is essential to recognize that emotions, like our thoughts, not always based on facts.
Tagged involves putting a name to something. Instead of thinking “He made a mistake”, one could label your neighbor as “an idiot”. Labeling people and experience places them in categories that are often based on isolated incidents. Notice when you try to sort things out and work to avoid putting mental labels on everything.
Although none of us knows what will happen in the future, sometimes we like to try our hand at divination. We think things like, “I’m going to embarrass myself tomorrow”, or “If I go on a diet, you probably just gain weight.” This kind of thinking can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, if you’re not careful. When you are predicting doom and gloom, remembering all the other possible outcomes.
As much as we like to say I do not think the world revolves around us, it is easy to customize. If a friend does not return the call, you can assumea, “She must be mad at me,” or if a coworker is in a bad mood, it is possible to conclude, “He does not want me.” When you customizing situations catching, taking time to point out other possible factors that may be influencing circumstances.
10. Unreal Ideal
Make unfair comparisons about ourselves and others can destroy our motivation. As someone who has been very successful and thinking, “I should have been able to do that,” it is not useful, especially if that person had some lucky breaks or competitive advantages in the way. Instead of measuring your life against another person, commit to focus on your own path to success.
Troubleshooting of thought
Once you start recognizing thinking errors, you can start working on trying to challenge those thoughts. Look exceptions to the rule and gather evidence that their thoughts are not 100 percent true. Then, you can start replacing these thoughts with more realistic thoughts.
The objective must not be to replace negative thoughts with positive or overly idealistic. Instead replace them with realistic thoughts. Changing the mindset takes much effort at first, but with practice, you will notice big changes – not only in the way of thinking, but also in the way you feel and behave. You can make peace with the past, look at this differently, and think about the future in a way that supports your chances of achieving your goals.