Originally published on Kiki and Tea, May 21st, 2015
Have you ever had to recognise your thought patterns to weed out unhelpful ones? I have. And it wasn’t easy.
One of the original taglines for my blog was “a journey towards positive thinking and weight loss”. In fact, my first posts were just exercise statistics from that day. Boo-ring! I stopped that pretty fast. What I haven’t stopped is working at changing my thoughts. I used to be very negative. It has taken a lot of years of private work to change my thought patterns and I’d like to share what has worked for me.
How To Recognise Your Thought Patterns
I knew I was being excessively negative, I just didn’t know how to change that. Long before I started blogging in its current sense, I came across Kelly Exeter’s site A Life Less Frantic and realised that I wasn’t happy. More importantly, I realised I was allowed to be happy.
That was the biggest key to starting me on my journey to happiness. As lame and hippy as that sounds, it’s true. I didn’t know how to change, and I guess on some level that might have been too hard to face anyway.
So instead of worrying about changing, I decided to focus on why. Why did I feel crappy at this point in the day? Why was I depressed that the person next to me on the train was smelly? Was it hunger? Was it that I didn’t like sitting? What else was I feeling that led to these thought patterns?
I kept mental note (you could log it in a journal if you wanted to, and that is probably a more efficient technique) and figured out the cause of the majority of my negative thoughts: Tiredness.
Ever since I had a few years of terrible sleep patterns, caused by jobs with irregular hours, stressful life and dealing with a medium-term illness, I had certainly become a much more negative person. And these negative thought patterns were at their worst when I was tired.
Even now, years after I realised how much being tired affects me, it doesn’t stop the negative thoughts from happening if I miss out on sleep.
Just working out what drags you down is a huge help in managing your feelings. It doesn’t help to change it, but it can help you to avoid it or recognise that it’s only temporary until you can avoid or fix the trigger.
Have you ever needed to change your thinking? What has helped you recognise your thought patterns and adjust them?
Disclaimer: I’m not an expert and this article is about what has worked for me. Speak to your GP or mental health professional for advice on your circumstances.