What is Cognitive Therapy?
Cognitive therapy is acknowledged as the most successful treatment for depression. The word ‘cognitive’ means ‘thoughts’ so cognitive therapy basically means therapy of your thoughts, or more simply put, changing the way you think.
Cognitive Therapy is is based on the following premises:
|It’s NOT what happens to you that causes your negative emotions, but rather the personal meaning that is associated with the event.
Yes, you read that right! Bear with me and carry on reading.
|When depressed, thoughts are NEGATIVE and OUT OF TOUCH WITH REALITY.
If you can accept these facts, you’re heading in the right direction towards recovery. Logically the next step is to examine your thoughts and replace them with thoughts that are in touch with reality.
Our thoughts determine how we feel
If you think of something pleasant, your mood is happy, if you think of something unpleasant your mood goes down. Your feelings follow on from your thoughts, which in turn affect how you behave. Change your thoughts and your mood changes. It only happens in this direction.
THE DIRECTION IS ONE-WAY ONLY!
Our thoughts are automatic, we don’t choose them. They just pop into our head. Have you ever said ‘where on earth did THAT thought come from?’. You’re not alone in having some unwelcome thoughts!
How our thoughts develop
Work through this analogy with me. I remember learning to drive, having to think of every little thing I did. After several years, driving has become automatic. I don’t consciously think every time I put in the clutch to change gear – it happens automatically. Sound familiar? How often have you arrived at a destination and wondered how on earth you got there? I certainly have. It would be far too stressful if every time you drove you had to rethink all the steps. The learning goes into the ‘automatic thinking’ part of your brain. Now the same happens with much of the way we live our lives.
Growing up we’re taught how to deal with this world and all of that information was filed away into the ‘automatic’ storage part of our brains. Our responses are effectively hard-wired into our brains, unless we choose to ‘rewire’ our response mechanism. Impossible you might cry out! But it’s true. We are quite adept at changing our minds. If you moved from a right-hand drive country to a left-hand drive, you’d quickly learn to change how you drive. You’d have to re-skill. To overcome depression and change those automatic responses filed away in our brains, we also have to re-skill. But first we have to do some detective work to find out what those automatic conscious thoughts are. You can’t change them if you don’t know them!
Our minds are never silent! We’re all familiar with that constant stream of images and thoughts running through our heads, even when we’re asleep. This is known as self-talk and directs how we respond to situations. Once again these thoughts come in automatically and for that reason alone we presume them to be the truth and act on them as if they represent the truth.
Let me give you a few examples. I always find examples helpful.
- Suppose your child usually walks home from school and he’s late. As time goes by you get more and more worried and you find yourself thinking thoughts along these lines. ‘Something terrible has happened. He’s been hurt. Or kidnapped.’ Panic and anxiety set in. After a while your child comes home and tells you he had sport that afternoon, a fact that you had forgotten. All the anxiety was for nothing, as your thoughts were not based in reality.
If you are prone to this sort of anxiety you might even be aware that your thoughts have no real basis but you tell yourself that you can’t help it, you’re just an anxious sort of person. It’s true, you cannot help the thoughts that come into your head, but you do have a choice of believing them or not, checking out whether they are based in reality or not.
Often we make ourselves miserable and keep ourselves miserable by listening to a non-stop stream of inner nonsense – even when we know very well that the nonsense is not the truth.
Listening to our thoughts or self-talk
Thoughts are a bit like the white noise of a fan. The noise is always there but after a while you stop hearing it. I live on a busy road and I don’t hear the noise of passing cars, whereas an upcountry visitor would remark on the noise. It’s only then that I notice the noise as it has been brought to my awareness.
- Thoughts are much the same; we need to bring them to our awareness.
Everything we do is motivated by a thought or a belief. Let’s look at some examples. You’ve read this far on this site probably because your thoughts tell you that you could learn something from it. If you didn’t think this you probably would have exited a long time ago.
This might sound silly but when you sit on a chair, you have the unconscious thought or belief that it will support you.
You drive to work with the belief or thought that your car will get you there safely. These thoughts are automatic and we’re not really aware of them but we do act on them. Imagine how annoying it would be if each time you went to your car you had to check out whether it is safe or not to drive!
Our Thoughts cause Depression!
Remember it isn’t what happens to us that causes depression. But rather it’s our unconscious thoughts that cause anxiety and depression.That is the truth. So to bet better we need to look under the surface and decipher our thoughts. Once you have the thought you can examine it’s validity. Change your thoughts and you’ll change your mood.
Even the Bible tells us to be careful what we think because our thoughts run our life (Proverbs 4:23 Phillips version).
Change your thoughts and your emotions and mood will change and following on from this your behavior will change. This is the essence of cognitive therapy or therapy of your thoughts.
HOW DO WE DECIPHER OUR THOUGHTS?
We decipher our thoughts through examining our EMOTIONS.
Our emotions are the key to unlocking our long since hidden thoughts. Unfortunately this key is so often damaged.
Does this sort of comment sound familiar?
- ‘I know I shouldn’t feel this way, but …’ Many people criticize their emotions and I think this is a carry over from parents criticizing their children’s emotions with comments like ‘you’re oversensitive, nice children don’t get angry etc etc etc’ These comments are taken as ‘the truth’ and become beliefs on how to deal with life.
- ‘Children are to be seen and not heard’. I remember a gentleman telling me that even at the age of 80 he still battled to speak out in front of people. Fortunately for him he realized he could trace this fear back to his mother telling him that ‘children are to be seen and not heard‘. This had a life-long effect. In adulthood this belief changed into ‘I don’t have anything worthwhile to say – better keep quiet’. Once he realized the root cause of his fear of speaking in a group, he started testing the validity of this belief by always making sure he said at least one thing when with a group of people. He soon realized that people were interested in what he had to say and there was no validity to the belief his mother had instilled in him.
I do hope you can think of comments like this that could have damaged your emotions. Write them down and then ask yourself whether they are true or not, and worth holding onto.
Emotions are neither good nor bad
We all have emotions but often criticize them unfairly. A good start for healing is to learn to recognize our emotions and name them (sad, angry, upset, etc.) Sometimes people think it’s wrong to feel anger. What rubbish! Anger is actually a God-given emotion and serves a purpose. Our emotions allow us to check on a moment-to-moment basis whether our belief systems and thoughts represent the truth. We are then responsible for what we do with our anger. An answer like ‘that’s just the way I am’, just doesn’t cut it. No matter what our emotion, we are responsible for the behavior that follows on.
Start feeling again!
Many people say they only really started to feel their emotions again while overcoming depression. Their emotions had been so suppressed that they were also quite surprised at the intensity of these emotions. If this applies to you that’s good. You’re healing as you get in touch with emotions long since denied or buried.
It’s better to feel than not to feel. If you placed your hand on a hot stove and had no feelings you would get burnt. Be thankful for your feelings, your emotions. Maybe they’re like friends you’re now getting acquainted with. As an aside, don’t criticize your children’s or your spouse’s emotions either, you’re damaging a God-given warning system!
Another point worth remembering is that the greater the emotion the greater is the meaning to you of what has happened.
FAULTY THINKING PATTERNS
This is the Cognitive Therapy tool, for deciphering those underlying beliefs that rule your life.
Look out for your emotions that feel like a thump in the chest or a punch in the stomach. Don’t let these emotions go unexamined. Ask yourself ‘ what am I thinking?’ ‘what does the situation mean to me that gives me such a bad reaction?’ Do some detective work! The following are the types of thinking that are common to depression and anxiety. Actually most non-depressed people can also recognize themselves in the list. You’re definitely not alone! I’ve included lots of examples. If you haven’t printed out the list of Faulty Thinking Patterns, I’d recommend that you do so. This list is very useful to keep on hand as you learn how to change your thoughts.
1. SHOULD STATEMENTS
You try to motivate yourself with `shoulds and shouldn’ts’, as if you had to be whipped and punished before you could be expected to do anything. ‘Musts’ and ‘oughts’ are also offenders. The emotional consequence is guilt. When you direct `should’ statements toward others, you feel anger, frustration and resentment. This type of thinking is common among perfectionists.
It is amazing that a word like `should’ can affect how we feel, can affect our mood. I think that this word causes more problems in relationships than any other.
When other people tell you what you should or shouldn’t do, the consequence is anger and resentment (remember, I mentioned that punch in the stomach feel). Others have the same feeling if you tell them what they should or shouldn’t do. It comes across as controlling and unaccepting. What you are really saying is that if you do what I tell you your life will be much better. This is quite arrogant, as we cannot possibly know what is better for another person. Don’t presume that what is right for you is right for the other person.
You’re out shopping and get irritated. ‘That salesclerk should treat me with respect’ you say, ‘after all I am the customer’. You could also change your response to something like this: ‘The salesclerk could treat me with respect, but then again, it looks like she’s having a really rotten day and I get crabby too, when thing go like that’. Try and not to always reflect situations negatively onto yourself. Try to see what could be happening with the other person.
People who are task oriented are more inclined to want to fix up peoples problems, which involves a lot of ‘should’’ statements. Rather try to just listen to how the person is feeling, believing that they have it within themselves to solve their problem and maybe just need a listening, uncritical ear. Once we feel that we have been heard we often are able to move on and sort out our problems. Often being told what we should or shouldn’t do actually makes it worse.
2. ALL-OR-NOTHING THINKING
You see things in black and white categories. If your performance falls short of perfect, you see yourself as a total failure. Also common to perfectionists.
- Sue thought she had done pretty well on her history test. She thought she might get an A or a B. Instead, she got a D. As she looked at the paper, she thought, ‘I’m a total failure. I’m so stupid. I never do anything right! I work so hard in school and still nothing seems to work out right for me.’ There are quite a few distortions in this thinking including all-or-nothing thinking, overgeneralization, as well as blowing things out of all proportion (magnification).
- What about the common statement, ‘if you can’t do things perfectly don’t do it at all’. This is also a case of all or nothing thinking. This kind of thinking robs one of learning from the mistakes we all make and which teach us lessons.
- Your house has the normal everyday clutter and you label yourself as a failure as a housekeeper because your house isn’t perfectly tidy. A normal house is somewhere in between. If you label yourself as a failure if your housekeeping is not perfect you’ll also be quite a pain to live with, always nagging your spouse to put things away. If your spouse is not tidy agree to have some area for them to have their mess. Tidiness doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing.
- What about the thought ‘if you can’t say anything intelligent don’t say anything at all.’ Better keep quiet, in case you say something ‘stupid’! This thought is also ridiculous as much conversation is just ordinary chatter make connections with people. Relax a bit. You can remain a silent captive or change your belief and practice becoming more spontaneous which will probably open up the possibility of more friendships and give you more joy.
You see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat. The key words here are ‘always, never, nobody, everybody, totally, completely, forever, every time’. When you overgeneralize you see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat.
- If you are arguing with your spouse it doesn’t help to say you never listen to me, or you always come home late. Because you will start arguing about whether it is actually always or never. The important issue is actually how it makes you feel. So a statement like I feel unloved when you come home late so often, or when you don’t phone and tell me, is much better and based in reality. You can state how you feel as this does not come across as an accusation.
- Your spouse criticizes or starts arguing with you. You get an emotional reaction inside but you keep smiling and try to keep the peace at all costs because you have a false belief that happy couples never disagree. You have to behave in a way to keep the peace so that you keep your basic belief intact. This is so unrealistic as no two people can always agree. To keep this belief intact any dissatisfaction or hurt has to be suppressed. Eventually the pressure cooker will burst and the result can be very hurtful and messy. The truth is that we all have different opinions and it’s okay. It’s only an opinion, not a reflection on us. If your spouse doesn’t agree with you it doesn’t mean that he is right and that you are wrong. It means that you have different opinions and you are entitled to your own opinions. When you get that negative thump on your chest and you say, ‘I always say the wrong thing’, change your self-talk to `it is only his or her opinion, it doesn’t mean that I am wrong’ I know that this advice has helped many people that I have counselled, because this is the truth.
- If someone disappoints you do you write them off 100% declaring that you will never trust them again. Or if someone of the opposite sex hurts you might even overgeneralize even more to never trusting anyone of that sex again. Isn’t it true that we all disappoint people at times? We’d like to be forgiven so maybe we also need to be more forgiving.
- Some other common statements are overgeneralizations include: Things will never get better, I’ll never amount to anything.
These kind of statements lead to a feeling of hopelessness and therefore ultimately depression.
4. MENTAL FILTER
You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively so that your vision of all reality becomes darkened, like the drop of ink that discolors the entire beaker of water.
- You have a pleasant family outing but the children fight on the way home. You tell them they’ve spoiled the entire day. It’s just not true. The children were noisy in the car going home which was understandable as they were tired. It did not spoil the entire day but you block out the many pleasant moments of the day by this thinking. In fact we can’t really expect children to behave like angels all the time – that’s unrealistic.
- You go out for dinner and the service takes a bit long. You have two choices, either let this spoil your whole evening or you can acknowledge it as an inconvenience, accept that the waiter is probably not intentionally out to spoil your entire evening. Rather choose to enjoy your time together. You can choose what you think, you can choose your thoughts which will then determine your mood.
5. DISQUALIFYING THE POSITIVE
You reject positive experiences by insisting they `don’t count” for some reason or another. In this way you can maintain a negative belief that is contradicted by your everyday experiences.
- You did well in an assignment. ‘Oh it was just luck, or the lecturer was in a good mood when he marked it, or the sun was shining or whatever.’ Your positive input, the time you spent studying is just negated, you’ve disqualified the positive experience, the reward for your hard work.
- You get a promotion at work and conclude that it’s only because you’ve been working there for 10 years so they had no choice.
Ignoring the positive implies that we should only pay attention to problems, or areas that need improving. This robs us of joy, satisfaction and self-esteem. It gives us a dreary outlook on life and we can stay negative even when all sorts of positive things are happening around us.
5. JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS
You make a negative interpretation of an event without any definite facts to support your conclusion. This type of thinking is typical of anxiety and whenever you jump to conclusions ask yourself what evidence you have.
- Mind Reading: You arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you, and you don’t bother to check this out. You assume you know what they are thinking. ‘She told me she had to visit her grandmother, but I know it was just an excuse not to visit me’. ‘Your friend tells you how nice you are looking but this has confirmed your belief that she normally thinks you look terrible. After all why else would she make the comment’. ‘Your son comes and starts a conversation. You half listen because you’re reading the paper and decide that he’s only talking to you because he wants something from you, it’s definitely either money or your car. You get impatient and say. Okay, what do you want?’ Maybe he doesn’t want something, maybe he just wants to talk.’ Often married couples expect their spouse to mind read their needs. Learn to verbalize your needs; it will make for a happier marriage.
- Nobody can mind-read so as soon as you start deciding what someone thinks you’ve got to consciously stop mid-track and ask yourself, ‘what did the person actually say’ rather than presuming that your mind-reading is reflecting the truth. Ask yourself what proof you that that your thought is true.
- Fortune Telling: This one is future related. you anticipate that things will turn out badly, and to go from bad to worse, you’ve convinced yourself that your prediction is an established fact.
- ‘I won’t go to that party tomorrow. So and so is going to be there and I know it’s going to be so boring!’
- When the boss doesn’t greet you in the morning you convince yourself that he’s going to fire you. Maybe you wait anxiously for the bad news or maybe you decide to get in first and save the embarrassment of being fired and hand in your notice by lunchtime!
- Your husband is late, dinner’s getting cold and you haven’t heard a word and he hasn’t got a cell phone. What thoughts rush into your mind – He’s having an affair, he’s at the pub, he’s been in an accident! The anxiety mounts! When he walks in you blast him before he has a chance to tell you the perfectly valid reason for being late. Acting on what you incorrectly believed to be the truth you have spoiled the mood for the evening.
- How often do you hear people say `never mind – things will be better in the morning – you just need a good nights sleep’. How can they predict that things will be better in the morning?
Are your thoughts based in reality or are you fortune telling? If you are prone to anxiety, then mind reading and fortune telling are your most common faulty thinking patterns.
6. MAGNIFICATION (CATASTROPHIZING) OR MINIMIZATION
This is also called the ‘binocular effect’.You know when you look through the one side of binoculars everything looks big. You look through the other side and everything shrinks and looks tiny. We often magnify or minimize the importance of what others or we do or say.
- Maybe you go overboard in praising other people’s achievements in an effort to keep their love or approval. You’re magnifying their achievement, making it greater than it actually is.
- On the other hand you make a small mistake and you view it as a train smash. ‘ I’m a real failure’ you tell yourself, ‘I’m useless’. and so on. You’re making a mountain out of a molehill. You’re magnifying your mistake.
- If you obsess or have sleepless nights over some conversation, replaying it over and over again in your mind, you are probably magnifying the importance of what was said.
- If you loose your temper over minor incidents you are probably magnifying the importance of what has happened. You are turning relatively unimportant things into a train smash.
- Or maybe you minimize your good qualities. Someone tells you how nice your dress is and you reply ‘oh this old thing’. Basically you are rejecting their compliment and they will stop complimenting you. A compliment is a gift – say thank you!
- Sometimes when a girl is dating a guy with a drinking problem, she minimizes the seriousness of the problem. She is not seeing the situation realistically because of her need to be in a relationship. A drinking problem is serious but she minimizes it because of her need.
- How do you respond to your child’s report card? Do you say things like ‘you did well getting 5 A’s but the B was disappointing’. If you point out other peoples imperfections or weaknesses you are a minimizer. Sometimes parents think that criticism will motivate children to improve. It doesn’t, it minimizes them. If you use the word ‘but’ or ‘yes, but a lot, you are probably a minimizer because the word ‘but’ negates all that comes before it.
7. EMOTIONAL REASONING
You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are: `I feel it, therefore it must be true’.
- ‘I don’t feel like getting up so it must be a bad idea, I’ll just stay in bed all day’. The truth is that getting up and doing something will help you. Check out your feelings, they can be distorted.
- ‘I feel like an idiot so I must be an idiot!’ Not true, your feelings don’t always reflect the truth.
8. LABELING AND MISLABELING
This is an extreme form of over-generalization. Instead of describing your error, you attach a negative label to yourself: `I’m a loser’. When someone else’s behavior rubs you the wrong way, you attach a negative label to him: `He’s a jerk’. Mislabelling involves describing an event with language that is highly colored and emotionally loaded.
Something goes wrong and you attach a negative label to yourself or someone else:
- ‘I’m stupid or a loser’ or ‘he’s an idiot’ or something worse. This type of language is emotionally loaded and not really true. Look up the dictionary and see whether the meaning is really the truth or not! When you label yourself as an idiot, according to the dictionary, you are saying that you are a person so deficient in mind as to be permanently incapable of rational conduct. I’m sure this doesn’t apply, not to most of us at any rate!
- Don’t label your children either with labels like, ‘that’s the naughty one, that one’s a handful’. Labels can stick. When you label your children, they believe you are speaking the truth as to children, parents are kind of ‘god-like’. The label can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Don’t forget that our behavior matches what we believe about ourselves. Quite scary, I think.
10. PERSONALIZATION AND BLAME
You blame yourself for something that you really were not responsible for. ‘If I were a better mother, my child would have done better at school’. This is really not logical as the bad marks probably had more to do with the child not doing enough studying.
On the other hand if your language is full of ‘if only’ statements you are probably prone to blaming outside events for your situation. If only I hadn’t come from a dysfunctional family. If only my husband was nicer to me, then I’d be happy.
If you blame others or circumstances, you are playing a victim role and will always be at the mercy of how you perceive others to treat you. Remember it’s not the event that causes your mood, but rather how you interpret the event. When you stand before God one day, you cannot say that you didn’t do much with your life because He put you into a dysfunctional family.
LEARNING TO CHANGE YOUR THOUGHTS – A step by step guide.
Before you start you will need some ‘tools. You will need a notebook, a pen and a copy of the list called Faulty Thinking Patterns. Are you ready? Writing things down, really does help.
1. Listen to your emotions
When someone says something that leaves me feeling depressed or angry, I usually feel as if someone has just thumped me on the chest. Maybe you feel the same way. Some people react as if someone has punched them in the stomach. What physical reaction do you have when you are upset? This negative reaction is telling you that it is time to examine your thoughts. Excuse me for repeating me now, but I am putting the process together into a manageable step by step process.
2. Keep a notebook and write down THE EVENT that caused the negative event.
You might be tempted to skip this and try and do it in your head. Please don’t, writing it down is a very important step. It also helps to stops your thoughts from getting out of control like a runaway train.
3. Write down your automatic thought.
People get thoughts and feelings muddled. If in doubt, thoughts can always be preceded by the words ‘I think that …’
- Find the Faulty Thinking Pattern. Use this list and try to see where your thinking could be wrong. You will need to become very familiar with this list so with practice you can immediately identify where your thinking is going wrong.
- Replace your automatic thought with a more realistic thought.
With practice you will become quicker at replacing the thought before it takes you on a downward spiral. Maybe an event comes to mind now that gave you a negative reaction. Try now to work out what was going on. Most of us seem to have our ‘favorite’ faulty thinking pattern and possibly even as you read the list a few jumped out at you.
FEELING CONFUSED? At this point you might need a word of encouragement! Does it sound like too much hard work? It is hard work but I promise you that it’s worth the effort for overcoming depression and living a life free of depression, anxiety and emotional turmoil. Hang in there! Take one step at a time!
Let’s go through a few examples as this may help in understanding the process.
Your friend has a problem and you automatically try to fix her up, give her advice She doesn’t listen to you.
You’re irritated, frustrated, maybe even angry. After all, you’re only trying to help her but she just doesn’t seem to want to listen to you. Your feeling frustrated is the negative emotion that indicates that you need to examine your thoughts.
Maybe it could be ‘I’m responsible for making everyone happy. Negative emotions are unacceptable. Must sort the person out’.
Is this thought based in the truth? Are you really responsible for making everyone happy? This is a very common belief but it is not based in the truth, as we are each responsible for our own happiness. Remember that it is our own thoughts that determine our mood. If you believe that you are responsible for making everyone happy you will probably experience endless frustration, as we cannot change people. Our task is to love our friend and walk alongside her. Most people resist being told what to do and it makes them want to do the exact opposite. Try telling a child not to touch something in a shop and when your back is turned they will do what you told them not to do!
Faulty Thinking Pattern
Offender number 1 – Should statements. You’re telling your friend what to do and you’re getting cross because she’s not listening. Should statements are usually associated with anger. You’re actually being controlling. Maybe some All-or-Nothing thinking as well as there is a belief that negative emotions are unacceptable and must be sorted out. This is known as emotional perfectionism.
Correct your thinking with something like this – ‘it is not my responsibility to fix up my friend but it is my responsibility to love her, accept her as she is and just listen to her. It’s okay for her to show negative emotion. We all have negative as well as positive emotions at different times’. This will probably immediately change how you feel, your mood, as a burden is lifted because this new thought is based in reality.
Now that you’re aware of this faulty thinking pattern, the next time you want to step in and ‘fix up’ your friend stop yourself and empathise and love her instead. If you have a tendency to say, I’m only trying to help, it probably indicates a tendency towards wanting to control others, to fix people up.
Jane sent her brother to the shops. On the way a drunken motorist killed him. Jane feels responsible for his death, as he wouldn’t have died if she hadn’t asked him to go to the shops. Now she won’t drive, remains housebound and fearful of going out.
She suffers from depression and anxiety. These negative emotions indicate that her underlying thoughts need to be examined.
‘I am responsible for my brother’s death. If I hadn’t sent him to the shops he would still be alive.’
Is this thought based in the truth? Is she responsible for his death? No, it was the drunken motorist who killed him. It is true that he might still be alive if she hadn’t sent him to the shops but she was not the one who killed him. She wouldn’t have sent him to the shops if she could have foreseen what was to happen.
Faulty thinking pattern
She is taking inappropriate personal responsibility, known as Personalization – no. 10 on the list of faulty thinking patterns. Also a bit of Fortune Telling, criticizing herself for not having known the future.
‘The drunken motorist is responsible for my brother’s death. I feel terribly sad that I asked him to go to the shops but there was no way that I could have known what would happen. I am not responsible for his death, my brother would not hold me responsible and would rather I got on with living life to the full’.
John is retrenched from his job.
He feels angry and despondent.
‘I’ll never get another job’. ‘They shouldn’t have retrenched me’.
Are these thoughts based in reality? ‘Never’ is a key word for Overgeneralization, no.2 on the list of Faulty Thinking Patterns, and should ring a bell. How can you possibly know that you will never get another job. Also some Fortune Telling going on here. How can you see into the future and know you’ll never get another job. Also a Should Statement. If you convince yourself you’ll never get another job you’ll probably make this come true by the manner in which you present yourself at the interview. Remember, you always act out in a manner consistent with what you believe.
‘No reason why I won’t get another job. The company were downsizing and no longer needed my expertise. Even if I’m unsuccessful with 9 interviews it doesn’t mean I will never get a job. The 10th on could give me a lucky break!’
For a Should Statement replace the ‘should’ word with ‘it would have been nice if’…
Might sound corny but saying ‘It would have been nice if they hadn’t retrenched me but it is really a sign of the times with many companies downsizing. I can re-skill for other work.’ Feels better, doesn’t it?
Your behavior is the final outcome of your THOUGHTS and EMOTIONS. If you change the source ie. your thoughts, your behavior will also change as a result.
REALISTIC THINKING – NOT POSITIVE THINKING OR NEGATIVE THINKING
Maybe you can feel the changed emotions for yourself as you read the examples. It’s not a case of positive thinking but it is a case of lining up your thinking with reality. I cannot overemphasise the importance of this list in changing your thoughts. I know the list so well that as soon as someone uses the ‘ should’ word, I think no.1 ‘Should Statement‘, and immediately replace my angry or resentful thoughts associated with these statements’!
Overcoming depression is not easy, that much I do know, but I would really encourage you to persevere. Some people I know practiced the technique by looking at past situations that had hurt them to see how they could have thought differently. One friend went right back to childhood hurts and managed to get some degree of healing by using this technique. You’ve read this far in your search for overcoming depression, well done. You have my personal admiration!