The Negative Thinking Challenge

One of the downsides to depression is the issue of your negative thinking. The feeling of being a failure and being pessimistic in day-to-day life is hard to shake off and can cause you to have a big set back in your battle. People who do not understand depression seem to think its a simple case of  being able to shake yourself out of it like there is some sort of switch that we flick off and on to suit our needs. Yeah right this morning I woke up and thought to myself “I fancy a down day lets set the switch to down!”

People who do not understand depression or people who never had depression should really just keep quiet and simply listen to those who need to talk. Half the reason we don’t talk to people is because of the “snap out of it” attitude people who don’t know better have. It’s the same as “what do you have to be depressed about?” attitude. Well let me tell me you why I am depressed…. It’s because of people like you who talk when you should listen!! (insert curse words where necessary LOL)

So how do you change the mind-set from negative to positive? Easier said than done isn’t it. Self loathing is a hard habit to break even more so when you have worn a mask for years to hide your true feelings. People always assumed I was in love with myself and arrogant when it couldn’t be further from the truth, I just happen to hide things well and the cocky me was only a facade that those who got to know me saw through in an instance.

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/depression_tips.htm has some tips on challange negative thinking – I like this site by the way LOL

Depression self-help tip 2: Challenge negative thinking

Learn about hidden sources of depression

Watch 3-min. video: Roadblocks to awareness

Depression puts a negative spin on everything, including the way you see yourself, the situations you encounter, and your expectations for the future.

But you can’t break out of this pessimistic mind frame by “just thinking positive.” Happy thoughts or wishful thinking won’t cut it. Rather, the trick is to replace negative thoughts with more balanced thoughts.

Ways to challenge negative thinking:

  • Think outside yourself. Ask yourself if you’d say what you’re thinking about yourself to someone else. If not, stop being so hard on yourself. Think about less harsh statements that offer more realistic descriptions.
  • Allow yourself to be less than perfect. Many depressed people are perfectionists, holding themselves to impossibly high standards and then beating themselves up when they fail to meet them. Battle this source of self-imposed stress by challenging your negative ways of thinking
  • Socialize with positive people. Notice how people who always look on the bright side deal with challenges, even minor ones, like not being able to find a parking space. Then consider how you would react in the same situation. Even if you have to pretend, try to adopt their optimism and persistence in the face of difficulty.
  • Keep a “negative thought log.” Whenever you experience a negative thought, jot down the thought and what triggered it in a notebook. Review your log when you’re in a good mood. Consider if the negativity was truly warranted. Ask yourself if there’s another way to view the situation. For example, let’s say your boyfriend was short with you and you automatically assumed that the relationship was in trouble. But maybe he’s just having a bad day.

Types of negative thinking that add to depression

All-or-nothing thinking Looking at things in black-or-white categories, with no middle ground (“If I fall short of perfection, I’m a total failure.”)
Overgeneralization Generalizing from a single negative experience, expecting it to hold true forever (“I can’t do anything right.”)
The mental filter Ignoring positive events and focusing on the negative. Noticing the one thing that went wrong, rather than all the things that went right.
Diminishing the positive Coming up with reasons why positive events don’t count (“She said she had a good time on our date, but I think she was just being nice.”)
Jumping to conclusions Making negative interpretations without actual evidence. You act like a mind reader (“He must think I’m pathetic.”) or a fortune teller (“I’ll be stuck in this dead end job forever.”)
Emotional reasoning Believing that the way you feel reflects reality (“I feel like such a loser. I really am no good!”)
‘Shoulds’ and ‘should-nots’ Holding yourself to a strict list of what you should and shouldn’t do, and beating yourself up if you don’t live up to your rules.
Labeling Labeling yourself based on mistakes and perceived shortcomings (“I’m a failure; an idiot; a loser.”)

Agree with any of these? see yourself and things you say in these? I must admit it certainly touched a nerve with me when looking through the advice and my biggest issue appears to be the “LABELING” although my success at writing this blog is helping to change my views on myself.

Funnily enough one of the things that’s not on there that I suffer from is the “Haves” and “Haves-nots” which is very superficial and materialistic I know but I like having nice things and the latest things, Guilty as charged LOL. Would having things I want cure my depression? Of course not but I wouldn’t mind having an option to find out! (Come on Lottery Ticket! just a few million will do!)

So just for me see what happens when you focus on the good things you can do or can offer to others and see if it improves your negative thinking! whats the worse thing to come out of it?

As for me I am focusing on the good my writing is doing and happy in the knowledge I am helping other people, as the messages of support I have had show me!

Thank you for continuing to support my writing please remember to share it out and spread the word!

Garry

6 comments on “The Negative Thinking Challenge

  1. I’m not sure I like this one ! I see too much of myself in this one and although I don’t think I am as grounded as I usually am, I don’t believe I am depressed. But maybe it is time to rethink that. I am beginning to recognize that there are different levels and types of depression as I continue to follow your blog.
    Thank you for sharing.

  2. Garry you are the best! Thanks for sharing your blog.

    Normally, I’m a “fake it until you make it” kind of gal. That means that I try to see the upside and match myself to it. Sometimes I even succeed!

  3. Pingback: Try Something Different Today « garrywilliamsblog

  4. I like that post, Garry, and the link to a useful website page. All these things we’ve been discussing in my CBT group, through the MHT. It’s taken many years of being bipolar and under care of Mental Health to get this treatment. But your page and the other one is very very helpful. And the points are so true – as, I find, is caring for a pet (which is on the self-help for depression web-page). We have a delightful cat and dog and I wouldn’t be without them.

    But this is classic challenging-your-thoughts stuff and the only thing I can say to anyone trying this is don’t give up. It certainly takes some practice when we’ve had ingrained thinking habits throughout our lives. But they are well worth doing! 🙂

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