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How to prevent irrational thoughts from holding you back and making you sick

Negative thinking can be harmful. Community Counselling Centre of Nipissing supports those suffering from anxiety and depression

Do you often have inaccurate thoughts that affect your ability to think positively?

Imagine tripping and falling in a busy grocery store. What is the first thought that comes to mind? Most people would think, “I’m a klutz, what’s wrong with me?” Then for the next hour, you might feel self-conscious or on edge.

These feelings of inadequacy and self-consciousness can be all consuming. But are your thoughts accurate? Does falling in public mean that you are incompetent? Everybody trips and falls. It is completely normal. 

The Community Centre of Nipissing (CCCNIP) says it is time to challenge the thoughts that harm us. Having inaccurate thoughts is not abnormal. We all do it. However, studies show that consistently holding and believing inaccurate thoughts can lead to depression, helplessness, anxiety and a host of other problems such as disrupted relationships, social isolation or a stalled career. 

CCCNIP can help people dealing with inaccurate thoughts.

What are inaccurate thoughts?

There are many thoughts that can be deemed ‘inaccurate.’ Some examples of common inaccurate thoughts include:

  • “Things will only get worse.”
  • “My accomplishments don’t count.”
  • “People don’t like me.”
  • “This problem will ruin my life!”
  • “This isn’t supposed to happen”
  • “I’m a jerk/loser/fool.”
  • “This must be my fault.” 

We often think that people are watching us when, in fact, they are not even paying attention or noticing us. We may feel that others think negatively of us when this is not the case at all. 

How to prevent irrational thoughts from holding you back and making you sick

First, it is important to check-in with your thoughts. Sometimes, thoughts can be automatic or subconscious. In that case, you need to stop, think and reflect. Take the time to clarify your thoughts. A good analogy is digging up a carrot in the garden. You have a hunch something is there, but you do not know until you actually dig it up.

Once you have recognized a thought, you can hold it up and examine it. Ask yourself: Does this make sense? Is this realistic? Do I have a reason to believe this? Simply questioning your thoughts can bring some sense of relief. Examining your thoughts can also help you to realize that thoughts can be studied, questioned and changed. Even if negative thoughts are true, it is better to understand them as best you can.      

Looking for evidence that your thoughts are true is also important. Sharing your thoughts by someone you trust can also be a helpful habit to adopt. Recognizing when your thinking does not make sense is crucial to your mental wellness. We all have the ability to stop, think and reflect. 

Testing inaccurate thoughts versus positive thinking

Overly positive thoughts can also be irrational and can cover up the things you need to question. CCCNIP Psychotherapist Rhonda Williams says, “Thoughts are not facts. Checking our thoughts helps us to ensure there is evidence to either support or refute the thought.” In fact, thoughts and feelings are closely linked. You might be surprised to learn how changing your thoughts can affect the intensity of what you are feeling or even change your emotions altogether. 

Are you experiencing negative thoughts that control your life? Are you finding yourself overwhelmed with anxiety that never seems to end? Do you experience depression that overshadows your life? 

CCCNIP can help you overcome anxiety and depression. Experienced counsellors are trained to help you recognize and overcome inaccurate thoughts. For more information call 705-472-6515 or visit