How many times do you catch yourself saying things like, "I don't do well in social situations," "I don't like going to the city." "I don't like animals." This type of thinking is called overgeneralized thinking; which means, you store one single negative event in your memory, and then use it to make wide, across-the-board generalizations. It's not ALWAYS bad to think in this way IF you have gathered sufficient evidence to make such a claim. Sometimes, thinking negatively going into a situation can cause the situation to go sour because of a sour attitude. Overgeneralizing is a way for your brain to skip over thinking deeply about what caused frustration, anxiety, fear, or disappointment in a situation. Your brain will create an untrue belief based on a sweeping statement. This type of thinking is MORE likely to cause more frustration, anxiety, fear, and/or disappointment because it is making a negative generalization about your self that usually infects your thinking to make you believe it can span other situations too.
Take control of your thinking by recognizing when you are overgeneralizing and you may realize that your days might start going better because you are giving yourself the benefit of the doubt in situations you have already encountered that may just not have gone well once.
I love this time of year. September is my "happy new year." It may have been the 18 1/2 years of school that make me think of fresh starts in September but I fully embrace and accept it. I enjoy this new year much more than the actual new year. New school supplies. New school clothes. Favorite TV shows returning or new shows beginning. I have created a renewal time for myself in September. Fall is almost easier for me to embrace change because of all the changes happening all around me already. Leaves changing from green to gorgeous yellows, oranges, and reds. The weather changing to the incredibly enjoyable sweatshirts and jeans weather. And the beloved return of pumpkins, apples, and pumpkin spice lattes.
I figure, if I can focus on how positive and beautiful all those other changes are, I might be able to convince myself that my change is going to be positive and "beautiful" as well - which is really an accomplishment in itself because change can sometimes be pretty "messy" in my eyes. The fighting that happens in my head between old habits and new habits seems like a war zone sometimes. My brain definitely is not all about switching from a four lane highway of habit to a dirt road of uncertainty. Fall helps me see that sometimes we fight change too much when it's really such a natural thing of life. (read more here!)
I have always struggled with feelings of disappointment, whether it's that I don't want to disappoint someone or I don't want to disappoint myself. The feelings that come along with disappointment almost seem to hard to bear sometimes. Feelings like guilt, shame, and fear. Sometimes we go to some pretty big extremes in order to prevent the feeling of disappointment because it can lead to damaging our feelings of self-worth too. "I'm not good enough." "I don't measure up." "WHy do I even try because I just suck."
Fortunately, I don't think disappointment is really all that bad. There are a lot of really good things disappointment can bring. It can help you do better, even "raise the bar." Say you were really excited about something, say making a new recipe. You are all pumped about it the whole time, thinking about how good it's going to taste when you're done. All the praise will be coming in from your family about what a great cook you are. When you are all done cooking and everyone sits down to eat, you realize it doesn't taste that good. You are immidiately slammed with disappointment. You start thinking about how terrible it tastes and how you are a TERRIBLE COOK because of it. Now, if you were to see disappointment as a good thing, you might start thinking about what didn't go right. Did you miss an ingredient? Did you rush the process because you were so excited to eat it? Did you add to much of something? This thought process would lead you to actually becoming a BETTER COOK because you would be much more focused the following time and you would try harder.
Disappointment should not attack your character. It's brought on by something you did, not who you are. Change your behavior! (read more here...)
Anxiety is a normal emotion that everyone experiences from time to time. Many people feel anxious, or nervous, when faced with problems at work, before taking a test, or having to make an important decision. Anxiety is defined by Mirriam-Webster as "an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physiological signs (as sweating, tension, and increased pulse), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one's capacity to cope with it."
Anxiety disorders, however, are different. They can cause such distress that it interferes with a person’s ability to lead a normal life. Worry and fears are constant and overwhelming, and can be crippling. Some anxiety disorders are panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, specific phobias, and generalized anxiety disorder. It is not known for certain what causes anxiety disorders, but it is guessed that it is a combination of environmental factors, genetics, medical conditions and psychological factors. Here is a very helpful article that discusses some examples of these factors that can play into the development of an anxiety disorder (read me). With proper treatment from a medical provider and counselor, the crippling caused by anxiety can be lifted and a person can feel like themselves again.
Growing up, I always had a changing relationship with food. I would think that a lot of my habits and thinking about it was normal because it didn't meet the criteria of an eating disordered so I figured I was probably fine, right? I know there are eating disorders (like the well-known anorexia and bulimia), but what about the other people that struggle with different types of food issues? I like to call the other eating issues eating dysfunctions. I'm talking about chronic dieters, emotional
eaters, extreme exercisers, health-food junkies, yo-yo dieters, etc. This makes up more of the common eating struggles that people battle with.
I have struggled with my fare share of eating dysfunctions. My most memorable moment was when I was alone at home while my husband was away on a weekend fishing trip. I was bored. I was lonely. I was... hungry! I love to bake so I headed upstairs to make some chocolate cookies. I sampled the dough as I made it... to make sure it was good enough. Then I decided I had eaten too much cookie dough so I better make some actual cookies and put the dough away so I won't be tempted to eat it all. After I had taken out the cookies, I ate one before it cooled. I ate two after they cooled. I ate another one while deciding what I should store them in. Then I went back to the cookie sheet and realized only 1/2 of the cookies I made were left. I got so mad at myself for losing control. I somehow decided that the best way to deal with this was to get rid of them. ... No I did not throw them in the trash.
Rachael Kool, professional counselor and normal, everyday adult screw up