Queensland Law Society

Wellbeing: Self-awareness and resilience – automatic thoughts - part 3a

Part 3a: What are automatic thoughts?

We have previously looked at a number of different mindfulness techniques, and how they can help you to be less reactive and more aware of your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and behaviours.

Tuning into yourself will also enable you to identify your inner voice. Think of it as an internal running commentary of what’s happening in the world, your place in it, how well you are performing, and – importantly - what you think other people think of your performance.

Unfortunately, the way we talk to ourselves can be very different from how we would treat a good friend - instead of encouragement, compassion and praise, we can dish out criticism, doubt and negativity on ourselves. We are often our harshest critic.

Over time, these tendencies can become ingrained and start to happen automatically and regularly. Events at work (e.g. a difficult client or an important meeting) or in our personal lives (e.g. an argument with your best friend) can trigger an automatic and distorted way of thinking which influences our reaction. Distortion can become a mental habit. And as with most habits, we usually remain unconscious of it which is why it is so hard to identify and change the tone and style of our inner voice. Mindfulness can create a window inside to become aware of your self-talk.

Our internal narrative styles (automatic thoughts) have a big impact on our resilience and psychological wellbeing, and often we don’t realise the way it weakens our self-confidence and optimism. Next week, we will have a look at the most common types of automatic thoughts.

If you think you may be affected by negative automatic thoughts, don’t hesitate to contact LawCare for a confidential and free conversation, or reach out to the QLS Solicitor Support on ethics@qls.com.au, or p 3842 5843 to speak to someone in a judgement-free and supportive environment.  

 

Rebecca Niebler
Organisational Culture and Support Officer, QLS Solicitor Support (QLS Ethics and Practice Centre)
9 January 2020