A lot of people struggle with being positive because of reoccurring negative thoughts that they seem to have no control over. It’s so easy to say that you want to be positive and try your best to stay happy, but if you don’t feel it, then it almost seems like you’re forcing yourself to do something you don’t really believe in. Negative thoughts are hazardous to our life because they can manifest as our reality.
There are a number of things that can be used to eradicate negative thinking, but the TEA FORM method (known as the Thought-Error-Analysis) is a great tool that can set you free from obstructing thoughts, if you practice it regularly. Typically, you should stay consistent for at least 12 weeks to see changes in your thinking patterns! The technique was founded and documented by Sam Obitz in his book ‘Been There, Done That? Do This!’ But since this, it hasn’t been documented in the easiest way to understand. So in this post, we’re going to try our best to simplify it for you.
Before we begin, get used to saying these words: “SO WHAT!?” When something upsets you, make this a habitual response to yourself! Events, people or things, no matter how catastrophic, they have no power to upset you – only you do. It is your own thoughts about each occurrence that actually upsets you, and a lot of our thoughts, ideas and worries are based on exaggeration, misconception and imposed beliefs from other people. Our opinions of ourselves and others are then based on erroneous ideas, and we use these to make judgements and decisions. If we can analyse this information in a logical manner from an alternative viewpoint, we can change our negative thought patterns to more positive ones, based on logic.
The TEA Form method will do precisely this. It will allow you to evaluate your misconceived ideas from an external viewpoint. It’s a very simple and easy method to use and requires only yourself, a pen and some paper.
These are the errors in our thinking which lead to negative thought patterns. There are 10 in total:
1. JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS
This is where you overestimate the likelihood and severity of a negative event, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. This causes anticipatory anxiety.
2. BLOWING THINGS OUT OF PROPORTION
This is when you make the most out of something. For example, when you exaggerate a small problem such as failing a test, as your life being over!
3. EXTREME THINKING
This is where you see everything as either good or completely bad. Nothing can fall in the middle with this type of thinking. An example would be when you miss your bus to work, and therefore conclude that there isn’t any point going into work on that particular day.
This is where you take one instance, and forever turn it into a universal event that will reoccur. For example, “I couldn’t answer the question, I’m so dumb… I don’t know anything.”
5. EMOTIONAL BLOCKING
This is where you give your feelings an overriding importance. Just because YOU feel a certain way, does not make it true. If your thoughts are inaccurate, your feelings are too; remember opinions are not facts. An example would be where you think your partner is cheating on you because they don’t reply to your texts quick enough, so you end the relationship.
6. REALITY FILTER
This is where your thoughts focus on one small detail, with no regard for the bigger picture.
7. IGNORING THE POSITIVE
This is where you refuse to give yourself credit for any of your accomplishments. For example, if you come second in a competition and you think, “Second isn’t even good, I should have come first.”
8. OMNIPOTENCE ERROR
This isn’t always easy to spot, but it’s when you think you are responsible for events that are completely beyond your control, like blaming yourself for destruction that the weather has caused.
9. COUNTERPRODUCTIVE MOTIVATION
This is basically the art of forcing yourself or others to act against their will. Saying things such as “I NEED to do this” or “He NEEDS to be more responsible.” This type of language makes you and others feel guilty instead of motivated. It can be pretty harmful, even if your intentions are good.
This is pretty straight forward; you give yourself or others, a negative label if something isn’t done to expectation, or done at all. For example, “I’m such a loser for forgetting to do the dishes.”
- Using your pencil, create three columns with the following headers on your paper:
- When you have a negative thought, write it out in the first column on the left.
- In the middle column, refer to the THINKING ERRORS listed above and find the most appropriate ones.
- Finally in the last column on the right, write a positive or logical argument against the negative thought.
It really is that simple. You can use this method for every single negative thought you have. You’ll realise how irrational your thoughts are at that very moment. Just remember, you’re not fighting them, you’re acknowledging them and working with them so that they go away!
|This TEA FORM method seems too difficult.||JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS and EMOTIONAL BLOCKING.||It feels this way because I’m overwhelming myself with negative thoughts. Things are rarely as difficult as they appear to be.|
|I’m such an idiot. Why did I call her when I know she’s clearly not interested in me? I hate girls they’re so annoying!||JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS, BLOWING THINGS OUT OF PROPORTION, NAMING and EMOTIONAL BLOCKING.||
I don’t know that she’s not interested; I’m just assuming it because I’m expecting the worst. My confusion has led me to be rude towards women but I know that not all women are the same and I shouldn’t judge them. If she’s the one for me, we will be. Otherwise it’s no biggie. There are so many decent people in the world that I haven’t even met yet!
Remember to be consistent for at least 12 weeks before you conclude whether this method helps or not. We’ve personally introduced this to clients who have been able to eliminate negative thought patterns successfully, so there’s no harm in trying!
Author: Vex King
I am the founder and owner of the Bon Vita lifestyle brand. I could give myself a title and call myself a lifestyle entrepreneur, personal mentor, writer, designer, innovator, CEO, or anything else I see as fitting. However no title can define me as an individual. I’m just an optimist, a visionary, a philanthropist and jack of many trades. I’m using my positive influence to redefine the creative industries using Good Vibes Only #GVO so that people can fulfil their dreams, purposefully, and enjoy The Good Life #TGL. My daily words of intent are to make people… Think, look & feel GOOD!
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