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Dealing With Cognitive Distortions In Anxious Times

Anxious times.
The very human tendency to engage in mental chatter doesn’t help. One tiny thought gets a little sunlight and it’s off to the races with all manner of distorted thinking, like kudzu on fertile ground.
One of the real gifts of spending more than 35 years working with folks who journey with anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder is learning to recognize the undeniable power of thoughts on mood. Once you really get that rooting out negative and limiting thinking is the heart of creating a more ease-filled life, this kind of cognitive weeding is deeply satisfying.
One way to recognize cognitive distortions is by the way they FEEL. Thoughts that tend to be distorting FEEL heavy and real, like matter. They feel true and it typically doesn’t work to try to argue your way out of them. While thoughts that are just regular thoughts don’t have that HEAVY feeling. They feel more like air than matter.
For instance, Joshua was ruminating about something someone at a work meeting said to him. It was a sarcastic comment about his work quality. Joshua just couldn’t seem to let it go. To him, it boiled down to, I’m not any good at this and I’m going to lose my job. That thought felt heavy. I noticed a plant on the table beside him and asked him to think the thought, there’s a plant on the table. That thought felt light, like air.
Joshua was well-prepared and used End of Words ( to address the I’m not any good at this and I’m going to lose my job. His self-limiting cognitive activity was a combo platter of rumination, catastrophic thinking, and negative self-talk. In less than 10 minutes, Joshua was back to his gregarious confident self, no longer concerned about losing his job or the sarcastic remark.
Our minds are elaborately creative when it comes to the kind of mental weeds that run wild, ready to entangle us and smother joy and ease. Once we discover what thought has us tangled up, it’s relatively easy to liberate ourselves. However, it does take practice. Daily practice is best for training our brains to uproot these cognitive weeds, create inner steadiness, and access presence of being. End of words is a great place to start with daily practice. Try it. Let me know how it goes.
May you find steadiness and PRESENCE today.