When something goes wrong and you feel your world is falling apart, try realizing if negative ‘thought filters’ are causing more pain—and trouble!
By Carol Rickard
Has this ever happened to you?
You receive a little bit of bad news and suddenly feel like your world is falling to pieces…
This was me yesterday!
I have a new online stress training program I’m getting ready to release to the public next month that I’ve been working on for the past 7 months.
I’d arranged for some people to help me make sure everything in it is working by using it.
I received two emails yesterday each saying the video was not loading correctly.
All of a sudden, I felt an instant headache & sick to my stomach. I must have looked awful because a girlfriend asked me if I was okay.
So I decided to get out and go for a walk to help clear my brain.
That’s when I realized what had happened.
They’re called many different things: defense mechanisms, ANT’s (automatic negative thoughts) ego filters…
I like to keep it simple and refer to them as ‘thought filters’ which kind of work like glasses—they take input and automatically adjust it.
The problem with these ‘thought filters’ is they are all negatively focused and usually create more pain and cause more trouble.
The filter my brain used: Catastrophizing. The brain automatically goes to the WORST POSSIBLE OUTCOME…
In my case it was…The website doesn’t work. Even after all that work I did to make sure this didn’t happen.
That was the thought that instantaneously showed up!
In fact, it all happened so fast that it took me a minute to catch up with what was happening—all I knew was I suddenly didn’t feel very well!
Now, there are some experts who believe it’s possible to eliminate these filters. I disagree.
While I believe that we CAN do the internal work and minimize the likelihood they show up…I don’t believe we can get rid of them completely.
The LifeTOOL I’ve always taught for handling them is:
- Whenever you have a STRONG emotional response—be aware these filters are operating.
- Takes steps to check the reality they’re trying to convince you of.
Applied to my recent situation:
- Instead of responding immediately to my response, I took a walk, was able to separate myself from the situation & become aware of what was happening.
- I asked myself: Is it possible it’s something else like their browser or internet connection? (I had checked the videos three times before & they worked each time!)
Turns out, when they switched to a different internet browser, the videos worked!
Do you have a time when “catastrophizing” has shown up in your life? Let me know in the comment box below.
~ To Living Well TODAY! ~
via Esperanza – Hope To Cope
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