What are Automatic negative thoughts?
Our thoughts constantly guide us and drive our emotions. They help us make sense of the world around us and shape our view of the world. Your brains are ticking over all the time. Whether you realize it or not your thoughts are checking whats going on around you and telling you how to react to situations and helping you decide what is dangerous and what isn’t.
Because of what you have been taught, you likely interpret situations differently from other people. This is only natural, but it determines your reaction and emotional state in different situations. This is where thoughts can cause anxiety.
Automatic negative thoughts are thoughts that sneak into your mind and cause anxiety or stress. Previous experience might have taught you that a certain situation is dangerous, when really it isn’t.
Automatic negative thoughts pop into your mind unexpectedly and they are triggered by situations or things. And although we are calling them thoughts, they could be pictures or sounds or even an imagined situation.
Thoughts are useful and necessary but but the problem with them is that they are sometimes uncontrollable and extremely believable. People do tend to believe what they think, why wouldn’t you? A trick often used in, and in fact an important part of, cognitive behavior therapy is to argue against your thoughts and kind of reprogram your self to not automatically believe your automatic negative thoughts.
Automatic negative thoughts can be scary and make you feel anxious and out of control but with a lot of practice and dedication you can step away from them, rationalize your way of thinking and hopefully realize that the imagery and thoughts you are having are nothing more than your mind playing tricks on you.
What can you do?
Your way of thinking can be re-aligned with what is actually happening and eventually your negative thinking can be brought under control.