Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Messed Up Thinking #1: All-Or-Nothing

Let's be clear on one thing first.  IF you are willing to feel better, you must be willing to challenge and alter some long held thoughts and beliefs.  It's that simple.  Meds, yoga, nutrition, exercise, even analysis, can all offer some relief from suffering.  But if you truly want to make long-term improvements in your overall mood, changing your thinking will be crucial.

So how does anyone do that? It begins with becoming aware of some thought patterns that may be hurting you instead of helping you.  "All-Or-Nothing" thinking is a whopper of a destructive thought pattern that leads to much depression, anger, and anxiety.  It means that you perceive someone or something as all one way or another (Ie, black or white, good or bad, right or wrong, weak or strong, etc). 

The problem with this line of thinking is that none of us on this earth are all one thing or another.  We all have things we are good at it, and we all have areas where we need some work.  If I tell myself, "You must be good all the time," then what happens if I mess up? If I tell myself, "You must always succeed or you are a completely failure," then I will feel pretty anxious and stressed out.

This need not be! If you are finding yourself feeling impatient, annoyed, stressed, or critical of yourself and others, please consider if there is any "All-Or-Nothing" thinking feeding into that.  It could change your whole day!
Damon L. Jacobs is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist seeing individuals and couples in New York City at Mental Health Counseling & Marriage And Family Therapy Of New York. He is also the author of "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve." 

No comments: