What is Negative Thinking? Negative thinking is a habit many of us have. It is…
Life is busy, crazy-busy sometimes. Most folks can relate to getting caught up in the daily grind, and how things can go sideways and wrong for us. This may create a gloomy experience and outlook, overlooking and taking for granted much of the good things around us. When we overlook, we miss opportunities to experience connection and happiness moments. This Mindfulness CBT Tool works to change those tendencies.
Deliberately remembering and noting three good things that happen throughout your day, then considering how these things occurred, tunes one into the good stuff in your life. Doing so repeatedly, can change the emotional experience and tone in one’s life, developing feelings of appreciation and gratitude, and decreasing feelings of isolation and sadness. It begins to shift our perspective from negative to more positive.
Why this works
Research shows that writing about three good things that happened during one’s day increases happiness. It also showed that the effects were both immediate, and long-lasting, weeks and months afterwards in fact.
It works because it calls for folks to begin to focus, notice, remember and relish in the more positive aspects of life. This prompts one to pay attention and engage more fully in the moment. Reflecting on its causes calls one to inquire at a more meaningful level. This creates meaning, fostering an attitude of gratefulness and appreciation.
How it work
This will take about 10 minutes a day. Keep in mind that the more you practice this Mindfulness CBT tool, the easier, and more effective it becomes.
Everyday write about three things that went well during the day. The exercise below calls for folks to reflect on the moment, provide an explanation and an understanding of the experience. These can be relatively small items and experiences (ie., spouse brought me coffee this morning) to larger items (ie., my child graduated). Whatever it is, it is important to make a physical record of it, rather than simply recalling it in your head.
Some find it helpful to do this before bed. Follow the steps/questions below to get the most of the exercise.
Give the moment a title. Something that might help you remember it if possible, doesn’t have to be elaborate.
2. What Happened
Write the details of the moment. Who, what, where, when etc. The more detail the better, but, again, doesn’t have to be too elaborate.
3. How did you feel at the time? How do you feel recalling/writing about it now?
Consider your feelings both during the experience and also as you are recording it. Tune into these. This is sort of like ‘double-dipping’ but in a good way.
4. Explain what may have caused this event to occur.
Lastly, consider why this moment happened? How does it fit into your life?
5. Write free-style
Don’t worry about grammar or style, this is not meant for anyone other than yourself to read.
What if you drift into negative thoughts and thinking?
It is a common experience to drift a bit, and if you find your mind drift, particularly back to negative thoughts, refocus onto the positive and good things. Remember, you are trying to develop more awareness, so looking to the Mindfulness CBT took, tell yourself….STOP this [negative, not helpful] line of thinking…then refocus. Use this thought-stopping as often as you need.
Remember…it’s not the size of the step that matters…it’s the direction
Lastly, remind yourself that you are attempting to start a new habit. This’ll take time and effort. Be patient with the exercise, and more so, with yourself.