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by: Noëlle El Saadany

Life is full of ups and downs. Having a ready arsenal of coping mechanisms can help in getting through the rough patches. Some situations leave scars behind. They can be physical scars that we can see or emotional ones which tear us apart from the inside. Neither is good and both should be dealt with. Traumatic experiences assault our boundaries as a person and can play out in negative thoughts and actions. Common responses to traumatic situations include anxiety and depression, feelings of worthlessness and acting out. Find a trusted person to talk to or, if that isn’t a possibility right now, there are virtual and ground community support groups available. Many are free or offer sliding scale payments. You pay what you can. It is important to take the first step in getting help.

Filter out positives
Dealing with cognitive distortions means filtering out all the positives and not harping on the negative. We all know people who see the dark side of everything, ignoring or downplaying the good. This person allows the negative to overtake their thinking. It results in becoming absorbed in negative thoughts. This can turn into physical symptoms like headaches, stomach aches and diarrhea. Stress can lead to serious complications with the heart and spirit. Counseling and support groups are good for helping sift through the hard stuff.

Jumping to conclusions
Avoid jumping to conclusions before you’ve vetted the details of a given situation. It’s a trait that isn’t very well thought of. People may hesitate to share things because they know it’s going to be a drama. Practice listening skills and the art of hearing people out without interrupting them. Take at least two ways to view a situation. Learn to flip the coin and examine both sides before jumping to a conclusion without all the facts.

Blaming others
Blaming others instead of taking responsibility is weak. That’s not the person people want to hang out with. If you play the blame game at work, enemies are sure to follow. People won’t trust what you say, even as your lips move. Man up and focus on promoting a positive self-image. We all make choices every day. The best way to be righteous is to keep it 100%.

Comparing personality
First, you have to know that you rock; that you are not a bad person. It’s when we walk in self-doubt, comparing ourselves to others (we don’t know their struggle), that we lose confidence. Know you are a good person, with a good heart, living life. That knowledge comes from inside. If you have nasty traits you need to address them. We all have something we can work on. It doesn’t mean we’re inadequate, our stuff is just different. Get to know your stuff so you can work at eliminating the need to compare yourself to other people. They have their journey, you have yours. Get moving!

Thinking you’re always right
You’re not always right. No-one is. Get over yourself. Get in the habit of apologizing with sincerity when you’re wrong. It’s such a huge step. If you can get there you cut a lot of negativity out of your life with one brave act.

You rock. You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Understanding cognitive distortions can help you be the best ‘you’ possible. Go for it!







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