Ah December has arrived, and what normally comes with such a busy month? – overthinking, right? Worrying whether you’ll get things done on time, thinking about all the new logistics this particular festive period has in store, and then worrying some more.

Worry, thoughts and feelings galore….

So, we’ve been busy behind the scenes here at The Thrive programme to make sure over this festive period that we’re supporting you by sharing our most insightful tips to help you generate some calm in your life in our 12 days of Christmas (but truly thriving style!).

Think of them as our little gifts to you…

So make sure to turn on post notifications so you can see all of our posts. You may just learn something new about your thoughts and feelings that you never knew before.

So what exactly will we be sharing with you? Well, helpful posts about…

– How adaptable is your thinking?
– How helpful are your thoughts?
– How we can then identify our thoughts and how we can challenge them (right at home, right through Christmas)
– Plus hints and tips galore

“The thought that’s in your mind right now, is it helpful?”

Are you aware of the importance of your thinking? Each thought we have matters.

Some of our thoughts are helpful.

Some thoughts raise our self esteem, increase our sense of power and control and build our confidence around others. They can calm us down, help us see the bright side, motivate us to take action, reinforce our self worth.

Some thoughts are unhelpful.

They lower our confidence, make us feel powerless, make us overreact in social situations. They can wind us up, make us feel overwhelmed, negative and worried. They can cause us to feel anxious, depressed and demotivate us from trying.

We’re all capable of having helpful and unhelpful thinking. And we get into ‘thinking habits’ or patterns. The effect of our thoughts is predictable: The more helpful our thoughts and thinking in general, the better, more motivated, and more thriving we feel.

It’s easy to spot the big negative thoughts we have, especially if we are in the habit of managing our thinking helpfully. You can shout ‘Oi get lost!’. It’s harder to spot the negatives though if all our thinking is a bit grey and sludgy.

There’s already a programme that teaches how to manage our thinking effectively, to reduce the unhelpful thinking so more of our thinking is aimed at us feeling good, thriving and in control.

#thrivingchristmas tip

Our issues and difficulties can feel overwhelming sometimes but there a very few instances that it’s not our thinking creating it.

Psychological problems are the product people create by the way they react to the pressures and stresses and hurdles in life.

Some people have the skills to react to the pressures of life in helpful and adaptive ways, managing their thinking and emotions well and tolerating difficult or stressful circumstances. Other people have never been taught these critical skills and instead feel helpless and powerless, leading them to become unhappy and frustrated, believing they have no control over their lives.

Really understanding that when it comes to our thinking skills, it is so important that we develop them to be as strong, flexible and adaptable as possible to enable us to live the best possible life regardless of our circumstances. Whilst we may face difficult circumstances that may be outside our control, by developing our thinking skills and being more flexible in our attitude we do have the power to choose how we think, feel and react to these circumstances. And that can make all the difference.

This is all about the brooding thinking style which is characterised by frequent worrying, over-thinking and ruminating

You probably already know if you have this thinking style as you will habitually be thinking “What if….?”  Imagining the worst case scenario over and over in intricate detail  Analysing every single option before making a decision, sound familiar?

You may also (but not always) be quite rigid and methodical: feeling anxious without a strict routine.

If you are looking for solutions, sometimes spending time thinking about a situation can be very helpful leading to creativity, new ideas and problem-solving

However! Spending time looking at potential problems makes them seem BIGGER and MORE unsolvable

Brooding is about control: it feels helpful but it isn’t. It gives us the illusion that we are dealing with a situation when all we are doing is focusing all our attention on our problems, creating anxiety and stress   We tend to brood and worry when we feel POWERLESS.

If you work on building the belief that you can influence much of your life, you will start to feel more powerful and less likely to worry about things.

Plus, have you noticed that when you are busy at work or school or with friends you don’t tend to worry? When you find yourself over-thinking, fully and actively engage with something else.

If you’d like to chat more about how to overcome issues and symptoms and learn how to Thrive, get in touch for a free consultation and don’t overthink it

Or king  – this post goes out to everyone who indulges in a bit of drama…

So, as the picture in this post suggests, we’re talking about making a mountain out of a molehill. Hands up if that’s you!

It involves magnifying a perceived threat or worry so that it seems bigger and more dramatic than it really is. It is therefore pretty straightforward to see how catastrophic thinking is linked to depression, anxiety and stress (and not a lot of people know that)

Catastrophic thoughts about Christmas and the New Year would include:

2021 will be a complete disaster
I look hideous in this outfit
My house is so messy!, it’s total chaos
I’ve completely blown my diet filling my face with those chocolates

Etc, etc.

Although it is damaging to think in such an over-dramatic way, it is fairly easy to change with a little effort and practice.

At home, this week, why not start to be more aware of the words you are using and whenever you notice that you are using catastrophic language, amend it and use something more appropriate. Do this consistently and you will find you will create much calmer experience for yourself

If you are habitually thinking things like….

There’s no way I’ll enjoy my weekend camping now!
I’m useless in the cold
I’ll probably hit traffic anyway, it’s Friday…
It’s bound to last all weekend knowing my luck

…. then it sounds like you are in the habit of thinking in the negative thinking style.

(Most people can have negative thoughts from time to time – this isn’t what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about when a person’s entire outlook on life is negative.)

Negative thinking gets in the way of being happy and enjoying life
It is often linked to avoiding things – if you think something won’t work/will be boring/won’t be enjoyable, you are not likely to do it.
It is often linked with social anxiety – if you think negatively about social situations, you are much more likely to feel anxious about them and avoid them
It can detrimentally affect how people recover from difficulties and challenges
It is often about protection from disappointment, failing and/or rejection
It can be about believing you don’t deserve to have a good life

If you recognise yourself here and you want to change then start to notice when you are thinking negatively and ACTIVELY CHOOSE to think more positively/helpfully. This doesn’t mean pretending that everything in life is positive. But it does mean making sure that the way you are thinking about things isn’t making a difficult experience harder than it needs to be by thinking very negatively about it.

Want to learn how to turn that frown upside down?

Perfectionism is not about high standards; it is about RIDICULOUSLY UNREALISTICALLY high standards where anything other than absolute perfection is seen as a failure!

It is about always noticing mistakes and perceived flaws.

It is about thinking in a black and white/ all or nothing way about success and failure.

It is about giving yourself a hard time and beating yourself up for inevitably not meeting the impossibly high standards you constantly set for yourself.
It is about not seeing or processing your achievements.
It is linked to social anxiety: because perfectionists are so judgemental of themselves, they assume others will be equally judgemental of them.

If you recognise yourself here – that is the first step! Acknowledge that you are in the unhelpful habit of thinking this way. Then, ask yourself if it really is a complete failure if I don’t get 100% in my exam or I sent that email out with a spelling mistake on?! Change that perfectionist thinking into something more helpful and realistic. Cut yourself some slack and you’ll relax and enjoy your activities so much more

Many people feel almost permanently on-edge, worried, anxious and stressed. They are over-alert/hypervigilant to potential threats or dangers…

”Why hasn’t my friend messaged me back? Is it because she doesn’t really like me?”
”Does this tummy ache mean I’m going to be sick? I can’t cope if I’m sick”
”What was that noise? I won’t be able to get back to sleep now”
“This headache must be the sign of a terminal illness”

Etc, etc …. This is the result of constant worrying along with unhelpful thinking such as catastrophic, negative, paranoid thinking. It leads to living almost all the time in a stressed state.

Constantly worrying wears us down and leads to feeling overwhelmed

We often worry about the small stuff that we can actually manage leading to these worries building up and feeling huge great catastrophes in waiting

One really simple way to do this that you could start today is to make sure to prioritise some time every day to relax, switch off and do something you enjoy. When you do that, you let your body know that you’re not in immediate, imminent danger, helping you to create calm rather than panic. Even if it is just for a few minutes, it will make a difference. Even better, put it in your diary/on the calendar to make sure you prioritise it in the same way as you would an appointment or a meeting. Also learning not to sweat the small stuff and to nip worries in the bud helps us keep perspective and reduces our stress levels.

Are you someone who acts without thinking? Do you want to feel good RIGHT NOW? When you feel upset, disappointed, vulnerable or angry do you feel that you need outside help with your emotions in the form of chocolate, shopping, alcohol or cigarettes etc, etc….? Why do I act Impulsively?

Impulsive thinking is always about changing your feelings; wanting to feel better or happy, right here, right now. This want or need will drive the person to perform a particular behaviour in order to fulfil this need.

Their focus is on feeling better right now instead of what is the best way to act, long term. Impulsive thinkers tend to be black and white which even further obstructs their decision making.

Do I really need this donut?
Can I afford to spend this money?
Will harming myself help me feel better, long term?

Asking yourself these questions before acting impulsively will help you gain a little perspective on your situation. Therefore, you are much more likely to make the right decision than making an impulsive one and regretting it later!

Are you an impulsive thinker?

Why The Thrive Programme?

The Thrive Programme is evidence-based; founded on scientific research, 30+ years clinical experience and a thorough understanding of how the human mind works. There is no mumbo-jumbo, pseudo-science or psychobabble – just proven, predictable skills that enable people to develop solid mental health for life.

Since it was launched 10 years ago, it has helped thousands of people worldwide: from those who have severe lifelong mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and eating disorders; to those who just want to learn how to make the most of life or achieve their goals.

I’ve worked in education and development for 15 years and have seen and been involved in many programmes, courses and workshops. There’s some really great stuff out there but I can hand on heart say that I have seen more of a positive impact from this programme on people’s mental and emotional well-being, as well as on schools and organisations as a whole who have invested in it, than I have seen from any other form of coaching or training in the workplace.