Sunday, December 7, 2008

Ten ways you can think yourself out of feeling low!

Haven’t you ever thought that, all your moods are created by your thoughts or cognitions? You feel the way you do right now because of the thoughts you have at this moment. When you feel depressed and low, its because your thoughts are dominated by a “pervasive negativity”. The whole world looks shadowed in gloom. “What’s worse – you’ll come to believe that tings really are a bad as you imagine hem to be”. Negative thoughts nearly always contain gross distortions. “Twisted thinking is the exclusive cause of nearly all your suffering”. The following list will help you to become aware of how you are fooling yourself when you feel upset, low or depressed.

1. All or nothing thinking – You see everything in black & white – like a straight “A” student who gets one “B” then thinks, he or she is a total failure. It “will set you up for discrediting yourself endlessly. Whatever you do will never measure up”

2. Overgeneralization – You expect uniform bad luck because of one bad experience. “A shy guy asks a girl for a date. When she declined, he says to himself “I’m never gong to get a date. I’ll be lonely & miserable all my life”

3. Mental filter – You seize a negative fragment of a situation & dwell on it. It’s like wearing a special lens that filters out everything positive. “You soon conclude that everything is negative”

4. Automatic discounting – One instance of this is the way we often brush aside a compliment. “He’s just being nice” That’s a destructive distortion, usually a depressive hypothesis is dominating your thinking, some version of “I’m second rate”

5. Jumping to conclusions – Two examples are “Mind reading” & the “Fortune Teller Error”. In the firs you assume that others look down on you without checking the validity of your assumption. In the second, you look into the future & only disaster.

6. Magnification & minimization – This is called the “binocular trick” because you are either blowing things up, or shrinking them, out of proportion. You look at your imperfections through binoculars & magnify them. But when you think about your strengths, you look through the other end of the binoculars & shrink everything!

7. Emotional reasoning - “I feel guilty: therefore I must have done something bad” is a prime example. Your emotions seem to be evidence for the thought. It rarely occurs to depressed person to challenge this pattern of distorted reasoning.

8. Should statements – “I should not do this” & “I must do that” are examples of the kind of thinking that makes you feel guilty, rather than motivating you to do something.

9. Labeling and mislabeling – If the stock you invested in goes down, you might think, “I’m a failure” instead of “I made a mistake”. Such self labeling is irrational. Yourself cannot be equated with anyone thing you do.

10. Personalization – You think: whatever happens, whatever others do. It’s my fault. “You suffer from a paralyzing sense of bogus guilt”. What another person does is ultimately his or her responsibility – not yours.

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