Last week I wrote about how you can uncover automatic negative thoughts (ANTs).
This week we’ll talk about how to transform them into PETs (performance enhancing thoughts).
In “Coach Yourself: How To Create Solutions in Your Life”, authors Grant and Greene recommend keeping PETs short, simple, and specific.
For instance, if you are suffering crippling anxiety about something you have to do, try this technique.
Evaluate the negative thought and write down:
- How is this thought inaccurate?
- How is this thought unhelpful?
Now address the ANT by constructing reasons to make the anxiety ok, so you can take the action you need to take.
- It’s normal to feel some anxiety. It shows I’m taking this seriously.
- I’ve done similar things before and gotten a good response. I can handle this.
When I work with clients I usually do a short visualization to get them in touch with their inner wisdom (which can be an idealized version of themselves, or a wise external character like an old man/old woman, a power animal, an angel, etc.)
I ask them to ask their inner wisdom for a phrase or mantra that they can use to remember what they need to remember in situations they find challenging.
This becomes a PET because it’s almost always short, simple, and specific.
Recently one of my clients was feeling almost hopeless about a work situation and an interpersonal dynamic. We came up with some possible strategies to deal with it. Then we did a short visualization and he got a very short, simple, specific message of “Give it a shot”.
May we pursue our paths, transforming our automatic negative thoughts into performance enhancing thoughts by “giving it a shot” .