top of page

Sunday Reflection: How to end Monday Morning Dread



Nothing drives fear into the heart to of countless battle tested warriors like the prospect of facing a new week. The existential dread of the new week is something we as Americans have been conditioned to experience since we were kids! Sundays meant going to bed early, stressing over Mrs. Smith’s pop quizzes, and the anxiety of having to confront the consequences of not doing the entirety of our homework. Even our parents fell victim to this. Perhaps you can remember your dad making a mad dash to complete all of his weekend projects, just so he could get in a few hours of relaxation before getting things ready for work. Yet even if things at home never gave you a sense of dread on Sunday, our American media certainly did. From TV shows, music, and even big budget action movies, hating and dreading Monday mornings have become a long standing feature in our entertainment industry. It seems that hating Monday’s is an American tradition that many of us grew up with, but it doesn’t have to be one that we continue to promote.

In order to break this tradition we first have to admit to ourselves that Monday is just another day of the week and regardless of what we have been told, it cannot hurt us. In fact, we now have scientific data which proves that our own consistent negative thoughts are the actual problem. Habitual rumination and focus on our own negative thoughts leads to feelings of anxiety and depression.[i]


[i] Gustavson, Daniel E., et al. “Evidence for transdiagnostic repetitive negative thinking and its association with rumination, worry, and depression and anxiety symptoms: A commonality analysis.” Collabra: Psychology, vol. 4, no. 1, 1 Jan. 2018, https://doi.org/10.1525/collabra.128.





The single greatest thing that we can do to start combating our negative thinking is simply observing our own thoughts. When it comes to negative thoughts, it’s important to understand that there are some very common patterns that exist.


Here are a few of the most common Negative thought patterns:

 

1.     All or nothing thinking – Oversimplifying of complex situations; Yes or No, black or white, good or bad.

2.     Overgeneralization – If something bad happens, we believe that “THIS ALWAYS HAPPENS TO ME!” Establishes a cycle of defeat.

3.     Mental Filter – Regardless of the positive occurring in person’s life, they only focus on the negative.

4.     Discounting the positive – Feeling inadequate simply because you can’t acknowledge the positives in your life.

5.     Personalization and blame – Holding yourself responsible for events or things you don’t control.

 

These are just five of the most common negative thought patterns and if any of these hit close to home, don’t lose hope or feel like you can’t change. All of us are capable of becoming more aware of our thoughts and consciously changing our thinking from negative to positive. Trust me, becoming more focused on the positive instead of the negative is not impossible. With hard work and determination, you can break the cycle.

 

If you’re ready to start shifting your focus and awareness to the positive, here are five things that you can start doing today to gain a greater appreciation for the positive in your life.

 

1.     Identify your distortions – Start a “Negative thought” journal. Write out how you combat the negative thoughts and what strategies or approaches work best for you. This helps you see in real time that you are able to challenge the negative thoughts and ideas with positive ones.

2.     Challenge your Negative thoughts in real time – As negative thoughts occur, pause, reflect, and challenge them in the moment. Be willing to take a “Tactical Pause” ( I know I know…Military jargon) and challenge your way of thinking in the moment.

3.     Engage in Self Compassion – Self-compassion is truly a vital aspect in overcoming many of our mental health issues and it plays a powerful role in helping us stop focusing on the negative aspects of our lives. Engaging in self compassion is simple, to begin simply start treating yourself with the same kindness and compassion that you would use when speaking or dealing with a close friend. Be willing to offer yourself the same love and forgiveness that you would offer those you care about.

4.     Ask for help – We don’t have to fight our negative thoughts on our own, be willing to ask for help if you find that you just can’t do it alone. These days help can come in many different ways and forms. Conventional face to face therapy, peer to peer support, or through an online service provider, whichever option works best for you, be willing to reach out and start the journey sooner rather than later.

 

Start observing your thoughts, be willing to challenge them, and learn to love Mondays just as much as Friday. Who knows, maybe in the near future instead of cheering for the end of the week, we will celebrate the possibility of a new and exciting Monday!




Comments


bottom of page