One of the most significant contributors to our own unhappiness is our thinking. The thoughts that we possess in our minds can add to having a bad day or an unfulfilling experience. Of course, those thoughts also create feelings and those feelings can lead to behaving in a certain way. The thought-feeling-behaving cycle can eventually create a miserable life.
For instance, we might have the thought that we are not good at anything we do. That can lead to unpleasant feelings of shame, embarrassment, lack of confidence, or perhaps guilt. And those uncomfortable feelings might lead to lashing out at someone else or drinking. Those feelings might cause us to behave in a way that we might regret later.
But thought-feeling-behaving cycle can also work positively too. The positive thoughts we have in our minds can lead to fulfilling and joyful feelings, which can lead to behaving in ways that are loving towards ourselves and others. For instance, you might have the thought that you are an excellent mother. You might then having feelings of appreciation towards your children, yourself, and perhaps your husband. You might have feelings of love and affection towards the members of your family.
Because thoughts are such a significant part of our well being, paying attention to them can support staying sober. Unhealthy patterns of thought, although unspoken, might be prevalent both at home and in the workplace. These patterns of thought are:
- Self-Flawed – I am inadequate, unworthy, or unlovable.
- Helplessness – There is nothing that I can do to change my life.
- Pessimistic – Life is chaotic, stressful, and miserable.
- Catastrophic – Something terrible is going to happen; I need to expect the worst.
- Resistant –Life is a battle; I must fight to have what I want, resist what I don’t want, and hang onto what I have.
- Victim – Other people and events are to blame for my life.
- Telescopic – I forever feel like a failure because I ignore my successes and focus on what is flawed.
- Co-Dependent – I need another to make me whole; I do not let others close to me or they might not like me.
- Resentful – I will never forgive others for what they’ve done to me.
- All or Nothing – I am either the best or the worst at things and there is no in between.
- Perfectionist – Everything must be perfect for me to be happy; nothing I do is ever good enough.
- People Pleasing – If I can get others to like me, I’ll feel better about who I am.
- Wishful – I wish I could have other things because the things that I do have are not of any value.
- Serious – Playing and having fun is a waste of time because life is too full of problems.
- Externalized – Happiness and satisfaction can be found outside of myself. Therefore changing the external world will help how I feel inside.
As you notice yourself having thoughts that follow one of the thought patterns above, you can change it. You can switch those negative thoughts into positive ones. Little by little as you continue to notice what you’re thinking and as you continue to keep your thoughts positive, you might see your life change. You might one day realize that you’re happy, healthy, and sober.
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