It’s a classic phrase, one that is constantly used to illustrate the difference between an optimist, and a pessimist. However, the same phrase and question can tell you a lot about your own mindset towards life in general, are you a positive thinking person? Or do you have a rather negative outlook?
It is well documented that negative thoughts can have real negative impacts on our lives. So by the same reasoning we should remember that positive thinking can have a positive influence in our lives in general. This theory is even illustrated on a number of TV shows, though exaggerated; we can find a number of characters who we all seem to admire, simply because they have a very positive outlook on life. Now let me explain that when I say positive thinking I mean healthy, balanced, realistic and helpful. I don’t mean like Pollyanna, where even stuck in traffic on a hot day when you have an important appointment to make, is positively spun.
But sometimes it is good to see how one person’s poison can be another person’s sugar, proving what we say in CBT that it is your beliefs, thoughts and attitudes that are at the heart of your emotional responses.
That’s where this quote from one of the Stoic philosophers, and one of the main principles of REBT come in: “People are not disturbed by events but by the view they hold about them”. Epictetus.
Glass is Half empty…Negativity…
You have to admit that being a pessimist is far more draining than being an optimist. Optimists seem more relaxed, happy with life and events simply because they see the positive and enjoy positive emotions. On the flip side, if we suffer with negative thinking and negative emotions, these can have powerful impacts on our day to day lives.
One of the most challenging and unhealthy negative emotions is that of Anxiety. It’s experienced by all of us at some time or other and it takes many forms. Some of the more familiar labels used to describe common anxiety problems are work related stress, panic attacks and panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, performance anxiety and general and specific phobias. Each of these emotional problems has its own focus, but each share a common origin.
Seeing the glass has half full…
Taking a positive approach to all events in your life will help with your own happiness. But dealing with those strong negative thoughts and emotions may require help. CBT can not only help you tackle negative emotions, but also provide you with the tools to combat them in the future.
If you are interested in CBT/REBT training or wish to read more about it then please check our website www.cbttherapies.org.uk