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“Travel lightly my friends.  Give up your unconscious pain and habits; they weigh you down.  Accept your birthright to be joyous and free.” 

~ Anonymous

Everyone experiences cognitive distortions.  Not everyone knows they have them and of those that do acknowledge their existence, not many people do something to challenge their cognitive distortions.  Of those individuals that put in the effort and practice daily, the results changed their lives.  Experience a life change by using the exercises below to weaken your cognitive distortions.

Remember, these are not one-time “cures”.  It takes work to give up your pain and the habits that hold you back.  It’s not about giving something up as much as it is giving yourself something of greater value in return.

  1. Identify Your Cognitive Distortions – List your troublesome thoughts and match them with the list of cognitive distortions. This exercise allows you to see the distortions you favor and allows you to think about your problem, challenge or predicament in more natural, realistic ways.
  2. Examine the EvidenceExamining your experience thoroughly helps you identify the basis for your distorted thoughts.  Example:  If you are very self-critical, then you want to examine a number of experiences and situations where you experienced success.
  3. Double Standard Method – An alternative to harsh and demeaning self-talk is to talk to yourself in the same compassionate, understanding and caring way you would talk with another in a similar situation.
  4. Think in Shades of Gray – Rather than think about your problem or challenge in an either-or polarity, evaluate things on a scale of 0-100.  When a plan/goal isn’t fully realized, think about and evaluate the experience as a partial success, again, on a scale of 0-100.
  5. Survey Method – Seek the opinion of trusted friends or relatives regarding whether your thoughts and attitudes are realistic.
  6. Definitions –  What does it mean to define yourself as “a loser”, “inferior”, “a fool”, “stupid”, etc.?  Examining these and other global labels will likely reveal they more closely represent specific behaviors, or an identifiable behavior pattern instead of you as the total person.
  7. Re-attribution – Rather than automatically blaming yourself for problems and predicaments, identify external factors and other individuals that contributed to the problem/challenge.  Your energy is best utilized in the pursuit of resolutions or ways to cope.
  8. Cost-Benefit Analysis – List the advantages and disadvantages of your feelings, thoughts and/or behaviors.  The cost-benefit analysis will help you determine what you are gaining from feeling bad, distorted thinking, and inappropriate behavior.

Until next time…

P.S. — Want to learn more about Cognitive Distortions and how they may be impeding your progress and success?  Tired of being at the mercy of your distortions?  Schedule your private, confidential complimentary discovery session or send an e-mail to info@JoshuaTreeCoaching.com to learn how.  Invest 30 minutes today to change your life forever.

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This unique gift, kindness, may be hidden from your own sight like a golden treasure buried under shifting sands.  Often, we spend so much time dazzled by the talents of others that we can easily overlook our own gifts.  Or we are so caught up in the overwhelm and frustration of our own circumstances of life that we get a bad case of tunnel vision.  Our unique gifts are like golden rays of expression that can encircle the world with light, and kindness is one of the gifts that we are born with.  It is important for all of us to try to (re)discover how we can best express kindness to another person.

Here are a 5 things you can practice immediately:

  • Smile with your eyes.
  • Acknowledge and appreciate the gifts you see in those around you.
  • Tell your neighbor that loves to garden how much her green thumb enlivens the whole block.
  • Thank your coworker for always greeting your days together with a smile.
  • Tell your close friends that their ability to listen makes your world a better place.

What are some other ways you can think of to be kind?  Good!  Now go practice.

Until next time…

P.S. — Want to know more on how you can practice kindness in all situations?  Schedule your complimentary coaching session or send an e-mail to info@JoshuaTreeCoaching.com to learn how.  Invest 30 minutes today to change your life forever.

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