Three Distressing Thought Habits To Give Up


In recovery, people need to give up habits of thought that cause distress and helped trigger their addictions in the first place.

These thought habits are not easy to let go of, but once a person releases them they are rarely missed.

Letting go is a continuous process. We decide to give up a way of thinking and then must continuously remind ourselves because the thoughts and behaviors keep boomeranging back. So it is important to give up the distressing thoughts while picking up habits that invite calm and happiness.

Three Habits to Give Up

1. Give up accepting negative self-talk and self-limiting beliefs

Turning off the negative thoughts we have listened to for years is difficult for most of us, but we do not have to accept what we hear. Remember when a parent or teacher told you what to do, and though you heard the words you did not accept them or act on them? You listened with your ears and shrugged the words off.

Negative thoughts and ideas can cruise in our minds, but unless we accept them or act on them they have no power over us. Plus, the more we let negative thoughts yap without giving them our attention, the quicker they fade away.

2. Give up having to be right

If your self-worth or self-esteem depends on being right, you will naturally make sure others always know that you are, even if you are not. The real result is that others will think less of you, not more. No one can control his or her level of self-esteem by always being in the know.

Effective self-esteem is built on the understanding that all humans make mistakes and none of us can know everything. Acknowledging our mistakes, or that we do not know something, actually increases the respect others have for us.

3. Give up the phrase “Yes, but...”

Many counselors can verify that people who frequently use the phrase “Yes, but...” are those who spin their wheels and then complain that they are getting nowhere. “Yes, but...” creates a vicious cycle of asking for help and then refusing it, asking and refusing.

If you use this phrase, do not spend a second feeling guilty about it. Everybody has developed coping strategies in life, and this is one of yours. It is one that will keep you stuck where you are, looking and feeling as though you have no power to create change.

Take an honest look at why you rely on using the “Yes, but...” phrase, preferably with the help of a counselor or trusted friend.

Four Habits to Pick Up

  1. Know your strengths (we all have some) so that you can rely on them.
  2. Give yourself credit for small accomplishments.
  3. Read books, blogs or quotes about self-acceptance.
  4. Treat yourself with respect; you do not have to think you deserve it, just do it.


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