Stinking Thinking and Negative Thought Traps

Stinking Thinking and Negative Thought Traps

Prunella Harris, LCSW-

We have been spending a lot of time on increasing our self-awareness of our inner thoughts, in order to increase our emotional intelligence. Today, I want to introduce the concept of “Stinking Thinking”.  “Stinking Thinking” refers to negative thought traps or a negative way of viewing your world which keeps us emotionally stuck.  Stinking Thinking tends to creep up on us when we are anxious, stressed or feeling down.

4 Types of negative thought traps or “Stinking Thinking”.

  1. Dark Glasses- a dark and gloomy perception of the world. Seeing events through a negative lens rather than balanced or positive manner.
  2. Fortune telling- Predicting a negative outcome will occur before gathering enough information.
  3. All or Nothing Thinking- a rigid manner of thinking that operates in extremes rather than a more realistic view.
  4. Personalization- blaming oneself for events outside of one’s control.

Today we will focus on Dark Glasses. This type of thinking error only sees the negative and is pessimistic. I’m sure you may have a friend that often complains and grumbles. If you don’t have that friend, chances are you are that friend.  This topic may be able to help you recognize when you or someone around you is stuck in a “stinking thinking” trap. You may be able to help them or yourself change your perceptions to free yourself from the emotional stronghold these negative thought traps keeps us bound in. Let’s understand more about dark glasses.

6 Statements people with “Dark Glasses say or think that keep them unhappy.

  1. “I am so glad my husband made dinner. But its only pasta, anyone could have done that.”
  2. “Oh, it’s good to hear you got that promotion, but it’s a lot of responsibility for such a small increase.”
  3. “Oh, Susie. How is Marcus doing in school? I am glad he is fine because I was concerned he would be on the fast track to prison with his behavior so difficult to control.
  4. “Oh, Tamara I am glad that you and Michael decided to work on your marriage. She’s so stupid he’s just going to cheat on her again. Just wait and see.”
  5. “Oh, me. I’m ok. I am still at the same job. My boss gets on my nerves. I don’t like any of my co-workers. I am tired of my family too.
  6. “Hey, Lisa I see that you received a score of 98% on your test. That’s good, but I am concerned about why you did not receive a 100%. I don’t know why you keep getting this question incorrect.

What we think about we bring about. If we spend so much time and resources on what is wrong in a situation, rather than what’s right we will continue to be unhappy. If we continue to focus our energy on what is wrong we will inevitably have conflictual relationships with others and thus continue to struggle to manage our emotions. So, let’s try to change our lenses and look for the positives in every encounter.

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