We all thought that 2021 would be really positive and everything would work out perfectly – but, needless to say, many of my Brisbane life coaching clients are still going through difficult times. That’s why I thought we should dive into what’s known as ‘Twisted Thinking’ and more specifically, one specific type of Twisted Thinking called: all-or-nothing thinking.
In his ‘Feeling Good Handbook‘, David Burns (MD), has identified 10 common ‘twisted thoughts’ that prevent people from thinking about problems in a more positive and realistic way. Twisted thinking can really have an impact on levels of contentment and happiness in your life as they are unnecessarily stressful – let’s identify the first one and discuss ways to turn it around to a more helpful way of thinking.
Examples of All-Or-Nothing Thinking:
- I feel like I’ve got parenthood figured out or I never get it right
- When my partner broke up with me, I thought I had nothing to offer
- My life is either going perfectly or it’s a disaster
- When I don’t stick to my diet for one day, I quit altogether
Problems of All-Or-Nothing Thinking:
What is the problem with all-or-nothing thinking? It is actually unrealistic as it’s far too rigid and it expects perfection. We are, after all, human. This type of thinking means you are judging both yourself and others unfairly. In your mind, there are only two extreme categories… This results in a tendency to focus only on the negative, like mistakes and flaws. It may even lead to stopping you from giving new skills or experiences a go because you assume you won’t be perfect at it.
How To Change Your All-Or-Nothing Twisted Thinking:
- Find the positives: If you’ve got yourself into the habit of this type of thinking, you will have a predisposition to focus on the negatives in your days. This includes bad news, things not going according to plan and when you reliving mistakes you feel you’ve made. Start to take notice of the positives in your life. It could be something new you learnt that day, noticing good things about others and yourself and just taking time out to be present and enjoy the pleasures of life.
- Find the shades of grey: Things aren’t just black and white – but that’s exactly what we’ve conditioned ourselves to believe when it comes to all-or-nothing thinking.Start by changing certain words in your daily vocabulary. When you find yourself saying things like ALWAYS, NEVER or MUST – replace these… Also replace phrases such as ‘I can’t’, ‘I’m hopeless’, ‘I’m useless’, etc.
- Find partial success: Of course we always want to achieve exactly what we set out to do, but this isn’t always going to happen. So, what can we do to fix this? Remember that day when you planned to go to the gym and do that 60minute high-intensity workout but didn’t? Instead, you went for a walk around the block with a friend. Guess what? You still did something beneficial for your health and you’ve still achieved something! You’ve made progress!
Through my 15 years of helping my clients , I thoroughly understand the most powerful techniques to help you achieve your positive changes. I’d love to work with you! Please book a no obligation 15 minute call to find out how I can help you!