Are You Aware of Your Negative Automatic Thoughts?
You Can Totally Think Your Way Out of Them
For the first time, I’m experiencing living without symptoms of depression. It’s wonderful and amazing but it’s taken some getting used to. I’m living a life with stability, ease, and the ability to fully embrace and enjoy the moment. What?!
One of the most debilitating aspects of living with a ‘mind illness’ is that you never know when your mind will turn on you. You can’t depend on feeling OK from one day to the next or from one moment to the next.
A major depressive undertow is the trap of negative automatic thoughts (NATs). Now, just to be clear, you don’t have to have depression to experience NATs but with depression, the thoughts are oppressive, degrading, merciless and persistent. Imagine someone screaming in your ear all day about how terrible, worthless and hopeless you are. Not fun. Or confidence-building!
No wonder depression is so exhausting. You are literally waging an endless war with your thoughts and you are doing it in an invisible space — your internal world — where depression insidiously hides.
No one is born with a brain implanted with negative thought patterns. They are formed by how you are raised, what neighborhood you live in, the friends you have, schools you attend, your family.
Regardless of what may have molded your brain to go to worst-case-scenario thinking or negative assumptions, that type of thinking does not serve you and it is absolutely manageable.
If you’ve been at war with your negative thought patterns since childhood, it can take a lifetime to make cognitive changes.
The sooner you start working on changing your thinking habits, the sooner you’ll climb out of the regular depression ditches. (I don’t mean to make it sound like this process is like flipping a switch. It is difficult work. It’s worth it.)
There are tons of free tools and resources online to help you re-condition your automatic thinking patterns.
This (left) is one from PsychologyTools.com that I like.
For over twenty-five years, I’ve been fighting and forging my way to a life anchored in stability, familiarity, comfort; one in which I am and feel safe, cared for, and loved. I would not be able to manage depression and get to this place without addressing my thought patterns.
Don’t let your mind be your worst enemy. Don’t let your lying mind drown out your authentic mind; the mind steeped in gratitude and goodness — the mind you were born with.