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11 thinking styles you can change to improve your life – Part 3

The third and final instalment of a three-part piece detailing the eleven unhelpful thinking styles. How knowing about the ways in which your mind works can take you on a journey to contentment.

Nine – Labelling

Labelling is when we define ourselves entirely by the way we reacted in one or several similar situations. To define ourselves by one behaviour, which is usually a negative one, we don’t give enough attention to our positive actions or character traits. Dwelling on failure is damaging, and although it’s necessary to a degree for our own development, it needs to be balanced with the appreciation of our wins, our successes and our positive behaviour as a result.

Scrolling through posts on social media can also damage the image of people around us, the places where we live and the lifestyle we lead. All from a few posts of bad news that may focus on the negative points of say, our hometown. Using a life coach will teach you how to strip away the labels you have attached to certain things in your life, ensuring it happens much less in the future. It’s a weirdly liberating experience that shocks you into realising it had been possible all along.

Ten – Minimalisation

In part one we talked about the magnification and catastrophising; making things bigger than they we’re in our minds. Minimalisation is quite the opposite but can also be unhelpful. Playing down our own positive traits – or the severity of a situation in which we are mistreated – can be damaging in the sense that it makes us vulnerable to further abuse, and others may take advantage of the low sense of self-worth that arises within us as a result.

Abusive behaviour against us will then fit naturally with the image we have formed of ourselves, making it almost acceptable to us. Humility often leads to the idolisation of others, which can only serve to devalue our own self-image. Those of us lucky enough to have not had problems with self-esteem might see others that humbly put themselves down as attention seekers, but there is a great chasm between those who fish for compliments and those who genuinely believe what they are saying about themselves.

Your life coach will help to clarify your position, giving you a safe environment in which to question your own use of minimising (and magnifying) traits. They will help you reverse the application of these thoughts, allowing you to continue along the path to humility should you wish, but without feeling ashamed or guilty. They’ll also help you take away any arrogance that might be associated with the process, ultimately resulting in an approach that fosters contentment not resentment.

Eleven – Black and white thinking

Living in a world that is becoming more polarised – politically and socially – black and white thinking is almost inevitable, but it’s not a good fit for life in general. Despite the divisions of social and traditional media, life is becoming more fluid, with very little fitting the ‘all or nothing’ model.

Those who take on a black and white view of the world and their lives may find it exhausting to live at the extremes. Seeing ourselves as either perfect or a failure, beautiful or grotesque – and viewing everyone else through the same googles – fails to allow for the sheer complexity and range found within most people’s characters, or within many situations in our lives.

Coaches always aim to bring you back to the middle ground, from where you can see the pros and cons of both extremes. More importantly, this puts you in a much better position to acknowledge the shades of grey that exist between black and white, and from this central position you can take a more reasonable approach to things – as might be useful in politics and society as a whole.

My reason for writing this piece was to highlight the core ways in which we may hinder our own progress, in all aspects of our lives, by simply allowing unhelpful thinking styles to flourish. Through a structured programme with your coach these thought patterns can be changed or turned to the advantage of you and those around you.

A life coach is like a personal trainer for the mind, helping you set goals and identify areas for improvement through mutual effort, and as with a personal trainer, clients are expected to do most of the hard work. Our role is very different to that of a psychiatrist or therapist, who often have to bring their clients back to ‘zero’ from a more difficult place.

Life coaches take driven, capable people and take them forwards from zero to as far as they decide to go. Our clients are often successful, educated and intelligent, with a clear vision of where they want to be, or a least that they have the drive to be somewhere different.

If you think this sounds exciting, you want to get valuable insight into the value of having a coach or you feel ready to take your life to the next level, contact me for a free discovery meeting or call. We can chat about your goals and see if we are a good fit for a coaching relationship.

Words: Daniel Coll / Images: Unsplash

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