Stop catastrophizing, monkey!
This week at The Happy Homunculus, we're working on becoming more optimistic.  Research suggests that optimistic people out-perform pessimists in many areas by persevering in the face of adversity.  Plus, it just feels good to be more optimistic!  So, let's change our thinking, shall we?

Today, we're going to work on not making things a big deal.

By discussing strategies for being more optimistic, we've explored the thinking styles that contribute to depression and are doing the opposite.  According to research summarized in Learned Optimism, people at risk for depression tend to think about bad things a lot (ruminate), assume bad events will have permanent consequences, and assume that bad events reflect a personal problem.  A third characteristic of a hardcore pessimist is allowing a bad event to impact all aspects of life: it becomes pervasive.  Today, we're going to try to avoid thinking that results in a pervasive, pessimistic mindset.


Task: Curtail automatic thinking that allows a bad event to impact all aspects of your life.

Info: For this task, you can either recall a bad event or listen to your automatic thinking after a fresh annoyance.  Argue any thoughts that creep in that make the bad thing become pervasive.  Here's an example, let's say you were passed up for a promotion.  How will you let this road-block affect your home life?  This issue at work has nothing to do with what's going on at home.  What will your thinking be like if your significant other is in a bad mood?  "Everybody in my life is treating me like dirt, I can't escape!"  Or, "She must have had a bad day too - let's comfort each other."  

Goal: Convince yourself that the causes of a bad event are restricted to a single context.

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