Separate Negative Thoughts From Actions With False Pessimism

Separate Negative Thoughts From Actions With False Pessimism

When things get tough, it’s easy to believe that our pessimistic thoughts are fact. The blog Dumb Little Man suggests saying negative things to yourself when you know they’re untrue to help train yourself to know the difference between your thoughts and reality.

Picture: Paul Smith/Flickr

For example, when you leave work, you might have a tendency to think “I just can’t work out right now.” Your body may be perfectly up to the task (especially if you work in an office and don’t get much physical activity), but it feels like you can’t and your negative thoughts reinforce that idea. To highlight this distinction in your mind, here’s what Dumb Little Man suggests:

“I can’t walk.” exercise. Simply walk around wherever you are, and say, “I can’t walk”. Say it to yourself and then say it out loud while walking. Although this may seem silly, you are actually training your mind to distinguish between thoughts that are helpful and those that are not.

Separate thoughts from behaviour in other simple tasks. For the next week or two choose 2 to 3 activities that you know you can do with no problem and say out loud or in your head “I can’t ________.” This could be “I can’t brush my teeth for 30 seconds.” “I can’t get out of this chair”. “I can’t walk up this stair.” It doesn’t matter what activity you choose as long as it is easy and you say, “I can’t _______” while performing the activity.

It’s not a guarantee, and there’s certainly no magic secret to retraining your brain, but if you have trouble getting things done in spite of your mind, it couldn’t hurt.

A Simple 5-Step Process to Separate Your Actions from Negative Thoughts [Dumb Little Man]

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

Here are the cheapest plans available for Australia’s most popular NBN speed tier.

At Lifehacker, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.