One option is illustrated very well in this Ted-Ed video below. Our thoughts run through a variety of steps to make it to our final conclusions and resulting actions. And only the first little bit of it is raw data. We filter and infer most of what we view through our lens of experiences.
Under this option, we can understand how this process works and attempt to cut off the ladder before we hit the escalating conclusions and actions that are very rarely based on facts.
Using a thought ladder like this, is beneficial in cutting off your brain's skilled ability to jump to conclusions.
One of the things Kara was talking about was using a thought ladder to change your way of thinking. Her whole philosophy is about changing your thoughts to change your life.
But changing your thoughts is easier said than done. So she talks about taking baby steps. Up a ladder. Hence the term.
I believe this was the episode where she was also talking about affirmations. She chatted about a lot of ways to turn your affirmations into things you can actually convince your brain is true.
For example, if you're thinking... "I'm never going to get promoted. I'm always going to be struggling financially." Telling yourself "I'm wealthy and money is already in my bank account." isn't going to work, because your brain is automatically going to say, "But that's not true!"
So instead of starting with a negative, Kara suggests starting with a neutral and moving forward. Below is a random example of how you could apply the idea of starting with a negative thought and moving it to a neutral factual statement.
8. I can't wait until the next job opens up and they have the opportunity to promote me.
7. I am qualified for the next step in my career.
6. This company is lucky to have me.
5. I'm good at what I do.
4. I'm a necessary member of my team.
3. I've lowered costs and helped the company free up capital to invest back in the business.
2. I'm always on time, and am productive when I'm at my job.
1. I'm never going to get promoted.
Now...could you jump from the first thought directly to the last? Nope. But from #1 to #2 or even #3 and #4 could be possible.
I found an app called Think Ladder that I'm going to test out over the next couple of days and I'll let you guys know if it helped make this process any easier. But I thought it was a great way to start turning negative self-talk into positive and in an actionable way.
I've had a rough week, and whenever I fall off the wagon, the negative thoughts tend to wiggle their way back in. In listening to the Unf*ck Your Brain Podcast, I've noticed Kara always talks about this type of self-improvement as "Work". And yeah. That's exactly what it is. Sometimes we have a bit more work ahead of ourselves than others.
So I'm starting off today by making my own thought ladder with anything negative that comes up. I may only be able to move up one or two steps from where I start, but it's waaaay better than wallowing at the bottom.
Have you used either of these techniques to change your thoughts? Any tips for someone trying it out for the first time? Or did you have a different definition of "Thought Ladder" that you're used to using? I'd love to hear about it.
(AKA, Woman starting on Rung 2)