Did you know that on most days, the average person has between 25,000 and 50,000 thoughts? That’s an impressive amount of thoughts. But when happens when the majority of these thoughts are negative and worsening your depression? Imagine the impact on your psyche and your life if you had thousands and thousands of negative thoughts each day?
This amount of negative thinking is a hallmark of depression. In other words, negative or pessimistic thinking is depression speaking for you. It is the voice of depression. What many people don’t realize is that depression is manifested in negative thinking before it ever creates a negative thought itself.
This is why it is imperative for those suffering from depression to become acutely aware of their thought patterns. If not checked, negative thinking becomes a habit, one that has the potential to completely take over your life.
Change How You Think
One of the most powerful ways people can lift themselves out of the darkness of depression is to change their thinking patterns. For this reason, cognitive therapy is such a profound change agent. The approach is based on the fact that thought-processing errors contribute to a depressed mood.
By changing how you think, you automatically change how you feel. Once you become aware that changing your thinking is important, you are presented with an active choice you can take to benefit your mental health.
I know. This sounds about as easy as changing a tire in the rain with nothing more than a hardboiled egg and a paperclip. But it can be done.
Here are some tips on how you can begin to change your negative thoughts:
Keep Track of Your Thoughts
Many people are in denial about their thought patterns. More specifically, they don’t want to believe they are overly negative or pessimistic. Catching yourself and recording as many negative thoughts as you can will help you to see your own mental patterns.
You could write things like, “I hate my nose,” “My boss is an idiot,” “I hate winter,” “I hate getting up this early,” or “I don’t know what I’m doing.”
Whether you’re at work or at home, keep the journal and a pen nearby so that you’re able to really stick to this activity throughout the day.
Once you get an idea for the frequency of your negative thoughts, try and pinpoint the triggers for them. Your journal will also come in handy here, because it will point out certain types of events that set off a chain of negative thoughts. Triggers can include being rejected or ignored, or having an unkind remark said about or to you.
Practice Positive Conversion
So far, you have learned that the human thinking process is habitual. However, the good news is that you can create good thinking habits.
To do this you’ve got to start converting all of those negative thoughts into positive ones. It will be hard at first, and you will most likely feel as if you’re lying to yourself and pretending that you believe the glass is half-full.
But, as they say, “You’ve got to fake it until you make it.” Though thinking positively may feel foreign to you and like a waste of your time, you are retraining your brain to think (and feel) good.
Every time you have a negative thought: stop, recognize it as negative, and immediately flip the switch and create the positive opposite thought in its place. This could look like:
Negative thought: “I’ll never get this report done on time.”
Positive Switch: “I’m making great progress and being careful to always check my work.”
To get the hang of how to do this, go through your negativity journal and create a separate column in which you will write the positive opposites of your many negative thoughts.
It’s time to break free from your depression by creating healthy thinking patterns that you can sustain. Retraining your brain is hard, but the journey to healing is worth the challenge.
If you or a loved one are suffering from depression and are interested in exploring treatment options, Team Evolution in Wilmington, NC is here to support you. Our providers can guide you through shifting your thinking patterns to overcome your depression. Give us a call today at (910) 202-4326 or fill out our online form to start your journey towards healing.