Praying is an important form of meditation and a way of helping us to stay mentally healthy. When we pray we look to another part of ourselves that is often a spiritual part. Prayer not only gives us a feeling of peace, but gives us hope, when we need to feel more positive. Next time you get caught up in negative thoughts and start to feel discouraged by life, change your thoughts through prayer. Prayer structures our thoughts. In prayer, you are feeling hope or gratitude or sometimes venting frustrations, but, for the most part, prayer can be that bridge to a positive you. You can create your own prayers to lift your spirit. You can control how you think by being aware of a distorted thought and reframing it. Here is a list of distorted thoughts that we all should avoid:
We expect disaster to strike, no matter what. This is minimizing or maximizing situations. Things can be exaggerated in a bad way, like, it is going to rain, oh no, there is going to be a monsoon.
Personalization is a distortion where a person believes that everything others say or do has something to do with that person.
We feel externally controlled and see ourselves as being the victims of fate, there is nothing I can do about it. We feel responsible for the pain and happiness of everyone around us, so if someone looks unhappy, we might blame ourselves.
Fallacy of Fairness
We feel resentful because we think we know what is fair and sometimes this does not happen. People go through life applying a measuring ruler against every situation judging its fairness and often this will lead to feeling bad and negatively.
We hold others responsible for our pain, or take the other route and blame ourselves. Nobody can make us feel a certain way, we have control over our own emotions and reactions.
We have a list of ironclad rules about how others should behave and how we should behave. People who break the rules make us angry and we feel guilty when we violate the rules.
We believe that what we feel must be true when it is not always true. If we feel stupid and boring, then we must be stupid and boring. Feelings are a way for us to deal with issues but they are temporary, not there forever, they are fleeting.
Fallacy of Change
We expect that other people will change to suit us if we just pressure or cajole them enough. We need to change people because of our hopes for happiness seem to depend entirely on them.
General labelling of someone based on their one behavior. If someone does something mean, they become the ‘mean person’ or other generalizations. I am a loser because I did not get a job is a generalization and label that is wrong.
Always Being Right
We are continually on trial to prove that our opinions and actions are correct. Being wrong is unthinkable and we will go to any length to demonstrate our rightness. For example ‘I don’t care how badly arguing with me makes you feel, I am going to win this argument no matter what because I am right’.
Heaven’s Reward Fallacy
Sacrificing ourselves and self-denying will pay off. This is not true.
Let’s use an example of something negative that happens to us such as not winning an award. We can look at this as a failure, as a reflection on how we did not work hard enough, are not good enough, or we can reframe our response to a more positive stance such as ‘I did my best, I did work hard, and I was up for an award which is rewarding enough.’ If our thinking changes to a more positive stance, we feel better, and will go on with our day and let go of any disappointment.
Try to be more aware of your own distorted thoughts, when you are not feeling positive, and change this thought through prayer, or reframing your thought to a better one, and you will notice not only how much happier you are feeling but how better your general perspective is in life.