Some people seem to have all the bad luck. Nothing ever seems to go right for them. We all know people like this. Neighbors, friends, relatives or perhaps you yourself fall into this category. More often than not these people have at least one thing in common…negative thought patterns. This is because thoughts are precursors to actions and actions are instrumental to achieving outcomes. Whether the outcome is intended or not, thoughts and their resultant actions or inactions play a major role in how one’s life shapes up.
If you have a positive outlook then life’s challenges are seen as opportunities not obstacles. If a person’s thinking patterns are negative they become short sighted or paralyzed in their problem-solving approach. This in turn produces unfavorable outcomes which reinforce negative thinking, creating a downward spiral. The first step is to recognize when you’ve fallen into a negative thinking trap. Let’s take a closer look at some common negative thinking patterns…
There are two parts to this common cognitive distortion. In the first part an individual predicts a negative outcome to a particular event. In the second part they imagine that if the negative outcome were to occur, the results would be catastrophic. People who are prone to this type of thinking employ three types of mechanisms when catastrophizing an event.
They ruminate incessantly and have difficulty focusing on things other than the perceived event. They magnify the problem until it becomes overwhelming which in turn leads to the third mechanism of helplessness. An example of catastrophizing would be a person who loses their job then imagines losing everything and becoming homeless.