"6 Powerful Ingredients
You are well on your way! Let’s take a look at…
Cure-your-depression step 4:
Positive Thinking Strategies
Negative Thinking is the habit that you can easily get into if you suffer from depression. It begins to happen by dwelling on your negative thoughts. Rather than coming up with a solution to a problem and acting on it, you may often find yourself allowing your negative thoughts to spiral out of control. It is important to recognize negative thinking patterns and put a stop to it immediately.
Negative Thinking Patterns only makes your moods worse. When you find yourself doing it, do one of these things: call a friend, exercise, write down the negative thoughts in a journal, or do some other pleasant activity (like knitting, reading, or another hobby). Learn to redirect your attention to more engaging activities.
How To Direct Your Thoughts To Overcome Your Depression
We are what we think!
Negative thinking is so powerful, it can disturb us mentally. Negatively distorted thinking feeds into depression.
Negative thinking is unrealistic and unfair in regards to:
■ your situation
■ your future
Have you stopped to think that the thoughts you have about yourself and those around you could be unrealistic?
Our thinking literally sets a path to who we become.
“Thought, like all potent weapons, is exceedingly dangerous if mishandled. Clear thinking is therefore desirable not only in order to develop the full potentialities of the mind, but also to avoid disaster.”
-Giles St. Aubyn
Your plan is to replace depressive thinking with realistic thinking.
So does this mean that we have to think positive thoughts all day long?
Do we want to fool ourselves into thinking that nothing bad will ever happen?
Thinking in an unrealistic way, whether positive or negative, causes us to feel and react inappropriately. The aim is to evaluate our lives and ourselves in a realistic manner.
Your goal is to think fair and realistic.
You need to be fair and realistic about yourself (pay attention to good qualities and strengths as well as weaknesses and problems), about your current situation (weigh the positive and negative aspects of your life accurately) and about your future (not exaggerating the likelihood of very negative outcomes).
So, how do you reprogram your thinking?
Thinking is a lot like attitude…
“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.
Attitude, to me is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company ...a church ...a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past ...we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude ...I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you ...we are in charge of our attitudes.” - Charles Swindoll, author
Question your thoughts and your attitude.
If you're focusing on negative outcomes and aspects, just say: "STOP!" and sit down at your computer or with a piece of paper and say: "I'm concentrating solely on negative outcomes. There are always other possible outcomes and I know I'm not seeing them right now but they are there. WHAT ARE THEY?" And write down other more positive outcomes.
LET YOUR NEGATIVE THOUGHTS LEAD YOU TO POSITIVE THOUGHTS.
How do you do that?
By asking yourself powerful, state-shifting questions. Questions that the very nature of the answer HAS to be positive. And keep asking them until you uncover an answer:
"How can this help me?"
"What can I do differently?"
"How can I turn this into a better situation?"
"What are some of the ways I can get past this?"
"What can I do that 'the new me' would want to do
"What would a Guardian Angel tell me to do?"
WARNING: Do not ask yourself questions starting with "Why?". Why questions get you stuck and don’t empower you to get beyond the negative thinking. Often they just lead to more negative thinking.
At the end of each day, ask yourself…
What 3 things am I thankful for?
Once you have a list of 10 or so major things in your life, why don't you post it on your mirror in the bathroom or beside your bed? This is an excellent reminder.
What good thing(s) did I do today?
Love someone - it doesn't mean romantically. Just love someone and get beyond yourself. Everyone needs to be loved and you may even be loved in return.
“Only a life lived for others is a life worth living.” – Albert Einstein
Journal your emotions:
What am I mad about?
What am I sad about?
What am I scared about?
What am I glad about?
These questions allow you to be honest with yourself and look at the good in yourself. It is there. Don’t let it be crushed by your depression.
If we have never properly been trained or allowed to express our emotions in a healthy way, we are suffering inside when we don't even know it. Our emotional state is causing our depression. Read: "The Emotional Jug" (Opens in a new window.)
Depression causes you to be self-critical, and recognizing that negative thinking and reprogramming your thinking can give you one more way to beat your depression.
Remind yourself that negative thoughts are the product of your depression. You are not stupid for having them. They are normal during depression.
When you journal your depressive thoughts, you need to take a step back and look at them and then replace them with fair and realistic ones.
You may also ask yourself something like this…
What is my depressive thought?
Can I get more evidence, like asking someone about the situation?
Would most people agree with this thought? If not, what would be a more realistic thought?
We are often much more realistic about other people than about ourselves. What would I say to a friend in a similar situation?
What will happen if I continue to think this way?
What is another way of thinking that is more encouraging or useful?
When you journal your thinking and feelings, you may start to notice situations where you often become depressed. You will also start to notice patterns in your thinking – what starts you down the negative thinking path. Then you will be able to make changes to turn your thinking into positive patterns.
POSITIVE THINKING ALSO MEANS SAYING ‘NO’.
What do we mean?
When you're suffering an episode of stress, anxiety or depression, you are already dealing with a full plate. It is vital you don't pile up the plate any further. So don't undertake any major changes to your life such as a new job, a house move, a new relationship, ending a relationship, starting a business etc. Just say a temporary NO to them all until you feel happier about things.
Please don't under estimate the importance of this skill.
Trust us it just isn't worth it. Put any major projects and changes on the back burner for now so you can concentrate on beating this horrible thing once and for all.
You need to clear your mind of negative thinking and that requires simplifying your mind of worrying about change and making life changing decisions.
“There is no use trying,” said Alice; “one can’t believe impossible things.” “I dare say you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed a many as six impossible things before breakfast”. – Lewis Carroll
How To Direct Your Actions With Positive Thinking To Overcome Your Depression
Physical problems can also cause depression if we allow ourselves to respond with negative thinking.
For example, you may be having issues with a co-worker or with your child or boss.
Write down your problem. Then write down 3 possible solutions and the pros and cons to those solutions.
Make an action plan and evaluate it as you implement it along the way.
Be sure to celebrate and reward yourself and keep a list of your achieved goals.
“Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole
Watch for the next ingredient to curing your depression coming to your inbox in 5 days. In the meantime, carefully take the time to make an effort to start implementing Positive Thinking Strategies.
Remember if altering a person’s behaviour will produce the same beneficial brain changes that can come from medication—without the risks and side effects—then the advantages are obvious.
There is hope!
You are worth it!
To your freedom and to your joy!
If you'd like to speed up your recovery, take a look at the globally acclaimed book “Conquering Stress”, and the just released “Six Steps To Happiness”, a new e-course to help people beat stress, depression and anxiety without taking drugs. Many of you have reported noticeable results in just one week.
Department Of Psychology, 426 Fraser Hall, 1415 Jayhawk Blvd., University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045-7556
Mental Health Evaluation and Community Consultation Unit of UBC / the Ministry of Health and the Provincial Health Services Authority, Province of British Columbia, Canada. / http://www.mheccu.ubc.ca/publications
© www.cure-your-depression.com 2007