Sunday, May 1, 2011

Complaint Free Monday - Take Two: Monday May 2nd

I started Complaint Free Monday because I fell into a negative pattern of griping about little things. I thought I could do better at being grateful for what I have. I was complaining all the time about the weather (trying so hard not to right now with all the rain!!!).

I believe it takes strong intention followed up by concrete behaviour to change ourselves and our outlooks on our lives and our experience in the world. People who have great lives work at it. I'm not afraid of work. I just need some structure. Thus, Complaint Free Mondays, next one tomorrow May 2nd on Election Day. I forgot I'm getting a cavity filled tomorrow. I always whine at the dentist like "Give me more freezing! I can feel something" or "Are you going to be done soon?".

But really? I want to look back on my life before my last breath and not regret missing out on all the good stuff because I had my eye on things that weren't important or petty. That would just be horrible. I also know that paths we take all the time get well worn. The more we follow a path of thinking, the more likely we will again and again. It's just plain habit. Breaking habits takes conscious practice!

Read the below description of negative thinking patterns. If you think you tend to fall into one or more of these categories of thinking on a regular basis, maybe it's time to make a conscious choice to take a different path. I'm also a strong believer in psychotherapy for being a very positive choice for making change in our lives and our relationships.

The following descriptions of negative thinking is taken from "Positive Thinking: Reduce Stress, Enjoy Life More"

1) Filtering. You magnify the negative aspects of a situation and filter out all of the positive ones. For example, say you had a great day at work. You completed your tasks ahead of time and were complimented for doing a speedy and thorough job. But you forgot one minor step. That evening, you focus only on your oversight and forget about the compliments you received.

2) Personalizing. When something bad occurs, you automatically blame yourself. For example, you hear that an evening out with friends is canceled, and you assume that the change in plans is because no one wanted to be around you.

3) Catastrophizing. You automatically anticipate the worst. You refuse to go out with friends for fear that you'll make a fool of yourself. Or one change in your daily routine leads you to think the entire day will be a disaster.

4) Polarizing. You see things only as either good or bad, black or white. There is no middle ground. You feel that you have to be perfect or that you're a total failure.

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