It’s all or nothing. It’s black or white. It’s yes or no.
There is no middle area, no grey spots, and no “maybe” in my mind.
One of the worst side effects of anxiety that I suffer from is black & white thinking. I have a really bad habit of being unable to see the in-between in certain situations. My mind goes from one extreme to another and keeping up with that is so draining. My black & white thinking tends to affect my relationship more than any other aspect of my life, though it does affect my life across the board.
An example of a black & white mindset that I suffer with in relationships is “well if his attention is elsewhere (not on me for the moment) then why bother having me around at all?” See, it’s all or nothing over here!
I will totally own up to thoughts like this crossing my mind, and this specific thought is actually why this post was born! It’s embarrassing to admit, but I know I am not the only one, and I want others to know that too. I love to write about topics that I’ve found myself googling for advice and tips on the healthiest way to handle my own mind! Once I find something that works for me, I love to share with you guys!
So here are the 3 steps I’m taking to find mental balance and limit my black and white thinking!
- STOP & do not react One of the easiest things to do when you’re feeling anxious is to react but it’s generally overdramatic, obnoxious, impulsive, and completely irrational. When you’re having a “black or white” thought, just stop and take a deep breath.
- Take yourself out of the situation and look at it from an outsider’s point of view Clear your mind for a moment and then look at your situation as an outsider. Think about how someone else might view your situation or how you’d view the situation if you were looking at another couple. One of the best things to do is to use empathy and put yourself in your partner’s shoes and see how it would feel if they were doing the same thing to you.
- Focus on LOGICAL thinking… over & over & over again
Logical thinking can be difficult to come by, but it’s so necessary if you want to find mental balance instead of always thinking in extremes. Instead of immediately flying to either end of the spectrum, focus on staying in the middle with the most logical and rational thoughts. Using my example above, you could certainly consider that it is completely healthy and normal for your significant other to spend time with other people and away from you! I have to remind myself of this constantly, regardless of what my anxiety tells me.
Even though I have these steps to follow that doesn’t mean that I have perfect mental balance, now, or that I no longer see in black and white, or that I don’t struggle anymore. I do. Daily. But, these steps make it much easier and faster to cope each day.
Do you suffer from black & white thinking?
How do you handle it?
If you have any tips that work for you, share in the comments below!