Negative thinking is a primary contributor to depression. This is a classic mind-over-matter scenario, where your perception and evaluation makes a situation seem worse than it actually is. There are many forms of negative thought patterns, and you may experience more than one. The goal is to reverse those thoughts through depression treatment so you can have a positive, productive life. Here are some tips to help you control distorted thinking.
Types of Negative Thinking
Before you can control negative thought patterns, you need to understand how they work. These are some of the most common forms of negative thinking:
- Overgeneralization – Assuming that one negative event will cause many more negative events
- Fortune Telling – Assuming that something will go wrong, even though there are no indications that it will
- Minimization – Believing an event is not as significant as it actually is
- Magnification – Believing something is more significant than it actually is
- Mind Reading – Assuming you know what people are thinking without hearing those thoughts from them directly
- Ignoring the Positives – Completely ignoring your own accomplishments or positive traits
- Filtering – Ignoring the positives and hyper-focusing on the negatives in a situation
- All-Or-Nothing – Turning something into an all-or-nothing scenario (“I’ll either get the promotion or I’ll get fired”)
- Emotional Reasoning – Turning your thoughts and feelings into facts (“I feel stupid so I must be stupid”)
- Blame – Blaming yourself when you are not solely at fault, or putting blame on others when you are partly to blame
- Hypothetical Statements – Criticizing yourself about things you should or shouldn’t do
- Labeling – Assigning a negative label to yourself instead of evaluating the situation
As we mentioned before, you may experience more than one of these in your life. In fact, many forms of negative thinking go hand in hand. If you can re-train your brain to think in a positive way, you can also take control of your depression.
Learning How to Control Your Thoughts
Learning how to control your thoughts takes time. It is best done through a depression treatment program, where a counselor can guide you through the process. The depression therapist will help you pinpoint the types of negative thinking you utilize the most and create personalized solutions to address them. If you are not in a depression treatment program at this time, the experts at Mental Health Resources in Memphis, TN would be happy to assist you. Contact us at (901) 682-6136 to schedule an appointment.
If you would like to work on this on your own, here are some steps to take:
- Write down a story from when you felt highly depressed.
- Write out your thoughts during the scenario.
- Identify the types of distorted thinking you went through at the time. Then write out a positive alternative for each thought.
- Repeat this process several times over to gain a better understanding of how your mind works.
- The next time you have a moment of depression, write down your thought as they happen. Then write out the positive alternatives.
As you start to see other perspectives, you will be able to evaluate your thoughts in real time. It may not happen overnight, but you can control negative thought patterns with practice and determination. Your depression therapist will be there to guide you every step of the way.