Monday, November 12, 2012

Breaking Free of Negativity: Part 1 – All or Nothing Statements

All Off
All Off
.David Chu
2008

Pitfall – All or Nothing

People who experience depression often view the world in absolutes. When you measure your emotions and situations as zeros or ones, the digital world can be quite bleak and flat. Small mistakes along the learning path become absolute failures.

The team at Uncommon Knowledge, LLP describes how this thinking pattern can perpetuate negativity and depression:

The more we polarize our thinking the more likely we are to become depressed because extreme either/or thinking stimulates the emotions much more. Statements like "I'm a terrible person!" or "She's perfect; she's a saint!" or "I'm just a failure!" oversimplify life and cause massive emotional swings. Few marriages, holidays or jobs were 'complete disasters' but had different elements within them.

When you hear words like always, never, perfect, impossible, awful, terrible, ruined, disastrous, and furious, it’s time to take a step back and assess.

Antidote: Dial It In

Dial

Dial
Jeff Van de Walker
2008

Instead of measuring your situations with an on/off switch, consider placing your situation on a scale. Switch from digital to analog.

There is a level between training for a triathlon and becoming one with the couch, between following My Plate perfectly and subsisting on caramels, and between blogging daily and never blogging again.

We are going through a process of becoming. Celebrate the progress you see and avoid viewing setbacks as complete failures or a reason to throw your hands in the air and walk away.

As you place your concerns on the dial, you’ll see that your focus shifts from the results to the process and effort. That’s where you want your focus to be for true success, at least that’s what the learning research is finding. For an example, check out The Psychology of Success via UC, Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center.

 

How has identifying digital thinking and switching to analog thinking helped you move forward and be free of negative thoughts?

1 comment:

DC said...

Working to go from D to A has begun to change my thinking with regards to cooking dinner, and I feel like that's a really good starting point for me. I'm definitely not totally there yet, but realizing there's a continuum between "amazing" and "disgusting" has begun to change my thinking so that I'm more positive instead of being hard on myself and slipping into negative thoughts about my culinary abilities. It's possible to have some good and some bad instead of entirely one or the other. Case in point: at dinner last night, the over-brined pork chops were really salty, but the rest of the meal turned out as hoped. I really appreciated how you helped me to see that.