Fighting Dragons, ANTS and Epic Failures:

 Managing expectations and cultivating a Positive Mindset

Sometimes it's really easy to get disappointed. We set ourselves up for failure by creating these stories and fantasies in our heads of what our lives might look like. We do this in relationships when we romanticize the average joe and transform him into prince charming. Then reality hits and nobody comes to the rescue. All that is left is the damsel in distress fighting of the dragon all on her own. These are probably the moments that we look back and think “why me” and “what did I do to deserve this”. 

This is something that I have been struggling with throughout the course of my life. When we create stories about how things might turn out, only two things happen.

 1. Disappointment with what happened.
 2. Disappointment for what could've been.

Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs)

In my first session my therapist asked me about my struggles. I told her that I was dealing with anxiety. I opened up about the negative thoughts that had been filling my head for months. She called them Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs). There are many types of cognitive distortions, but the one that was kicking my butt was that Catastrophizing ANT. Every little event in my life felt like the end of the world, especially in an academic setting. I would spend hours losing myself in the thoughts that told me that I was a failure and I needed to be perfect to succeed. A” B” on a test meant unemployment and no graduate school. I was trying so hard to be perfect that I burned myself out and fell through a rabbit hole of depression and negative thoughts. I was definitely Alice, but there was no Wonderland. 

So how do we cultivate a positive mindset? 
How do we pick ourselves up after what feels like an epic failure? How do we control these negative thoughts that keep tormenting our day-to-day life? 
These are all questions that I have asked myself throughout my life. 

The biggest gifts in life come right after a breakup, a falling out with a friend, losing a job and even the loss of someone we love. It is in these moments that we let ourselves stop and look around. We are filled with gratitude for what was and learn to be resilient. This is when that positive mindset comes into play. After these big moments, we realize that we have survived. Our heart heals and life moves on. 


Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

As I continued therapy, I started collecting evidence of whether these negative thoughts were true or not. I was actively checking in with myself when these thoughts would come up. Cultivating a positive mindset has been hard, but being aware of negative self-talk is the first step. 

If this is something that you are struggling with, remember that you are not alone and this is not something that you have to live with. Squashing those annoying ANTs is definitely a possibility. If you are dealing with negative self-talk and any form of anxiety help is out there. You can call us at Clarity Health Solutions at 561-781-3333 to better the relationship with yourself.

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