Automatic Negative Thoughts and Social Anxiety
Automatic thought patterns are thoughts that run through our minds without us deliberately even thinking them. They often become habits and may happen so often that you may not even notice them because you have grown so used to them.
Here are some common automatic negative thought patterns associated with social anxiety.
Common Social Anxiety Thoughts
"No one will ever like me. I will always be alone."
"Face it, you just don't fit in."
"No one laughed when I told that joke, what a loser I am!"
"They obviously think you are weird"
"He would probably rather talk to someone else"
"Once people get to know me they will dislike me, just like everyone else already does"
"I can never think of the right thing to say"
"I can never think of anything to say"
"Why did I just say that? Now everyone thinks I am strange."
"I am just an unlikeable person"
"There is something about me that just repels people"
Do any of these automatic negative thoughts sound familiar?
If you have social anxiety, you very likely have thoughts like these swirling around in your head. Sometimes you are acutely aware of them.Sometimes they are lying just below the surface, where you are barely aware of them. Sometimes you can become so used to them that you don't even notice them and aren't consciously aware moment to moment, that you are thinking them.
You can see that some of them are worded as though you are talking to yourself, and others are worded almost as though you have another person inside your mind scolding you! We call this your "inner critic". Both types of thought patterns are common in people with social anxiety.
These harmful unrealistic negative thoughts create feelings of anxiety and sometimes depression, which makes to even harder to function well socially.
You can easily understand why these negative beliefs and thoughts need to be eliminated.
Oddly we can become attached to old negative thought patterns partly because they are familiar and have become a habit, and partly because we reason to ourselves that if we think them they must be correct.
Careful analysis of these thought patterns and belief systems almost always reveal that they are actually unrealistic.
Unhelpful automatic negative thoughts are often based upon some or all of the following:
- black or white thinking
- all or none thinking
- extremely high and unrealistic expectations
- assuming to know what others are thinking
- attributing various emotions or motivations to others.
Automatic negative thoughts are like a depressing, critical sound track on the movie of your life.
These thoughts cause us so much extra trouble. It's almost impossible to feel comfortable and confident with the extra pressure of this unrelenting internal negative dialogue.
Everyone with social anxiety has automatic negative thoughts.
Part of what keeps social anxiety active within us are these types of thought patterns. In our training program we help you delve into the hidden belief systems that keep these negative thought patterns alive.
One important part of overcoming social anxiety is learning how to detect these thoughts, examine them and inactivate them, so that they no longer have any power.
Automatic negative thoughts are untruthful, unrealistic thoughts that escalate social anxiety and are harmful to you. We utilize proven cognitive behavioral processes to enable you to become aware of the automatic negative thought patterns you have and work with you to help you extinguish them.