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Free Your Mind from All or Nothing Thinking

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All or nothing thinking is the result of a stressed mind on autopilot. Instead of thinking about given situations and making choices in how we respond, the unattended mind with see things as everything or nothing, black - or white.

How Black Words Make Life Difficult
Black words are negative and rigid. Words like never, terrible and impossible are key examples.

"I'll never be any good at xxx". And so it is, with this kind of self-talk you can fail at anything fast.

'"xxx is
always awful." A double dose of black, a sticky always holding the negative awful as a perpetual reality. Even if you leave awful in the sentence and change the doomsday prophecy "always" to "sometimes" you inject the possibility that there may be times when xxx isn't awful.

And White Words Aren't Much Better
One example of a white word that is likely to cause trouble is: perfect. The old saying tells us that nobody is - so why put ourselves through the stress of expecting anyone or anything to be - perfect.

Mixing Things up Makes Grey
Grey thinking gives us some freedom and flexibility in our thinking. It opens our minds to possibilities and it's a much easier going way to frame things.

You can still really enjoy an event that had a minor hiccough (and was therefore, not perfect).

You can still love someone and appreciate their good qualities even thought they may have some minor flaws here and there.

You can be an organized person and forget a birthday. (Perhaps someone could tell my mother that!)

You can be a loving parent and get driven nuts by your children sometimes.

You can be a musician who plays the odd bad note.

An artist who paints the occasional dud.

And a highly intelligent individual who makes mistakes.

A dash of grey gives perspective. How will you mix some into your day?


Written by Ananga Sivyer. Join me on Facebook or Twitter

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Reader Comments (2)

thank you for this information. ive finally (very recently) identified and accepted that black and white/all or nothing thinking is the root cause of nearly all my anxiety. for at least 3 years or so, ive been trapped on a line of rigid thinking, which has me anxious to do almost anything.. i live in constant fear of disaster, in even the most mundane situations. thanks for this -- im just starting this journey, but now i can begin to see that its okay to take one step at a time, rather than be perfect or a failure, with no middle ground.

Jun 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTrevor Jones

Thank you for leaving a comment Trevor. I'm so glad to know this article has been helpful to you.

Jun 28, 2009 | Registered CommenterAnanga

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