Automatic thoughts. . What are they you ask? Well. they’re the thoughts you have absolutely ZERO control over. These are the thoughts in which you doubt yourself instantly after receiving a compliment over your performance or an assignment you got an A on. Internally you may feel like an instant failure no matter how hard you worked on it. You failed! You’re worthless. Who would love you??
Welcome to automatic thoughts… Thoughts that if uncontrolled can destroy someone’s self-esteem and cause depressive thoughts which in turn can trigger a full-blown depression episode. My therapist once told me a famous one liner that really stuck with me. “If you change the way you think, you’ll change the way you feel.” Take a minute and think about that sentence… If I change the way I think, I’ll feel better? I like how that sounds already. Tell me more?
In my professional career, there have been times where I’ve really performed well and my peers as well as boss will tell me what a phenomenal job I’m doing… Well! Thanks for the compliment…. but I’m a complete fuck up. I’m worthless… Wait a second! Not even two seconds passed before I completely insulted myself and destroyed my self-confidence. It is incredibly easy for us to take away all feeling of pleasure when we discredit ourselves for how hard we work in life. The issue at hand is that depressed individuals live in an alternate universe. Or reality where everything they do is wrong. We feel unable to do anything right. Everything is a failure. So why even try?? I know that I have felt this way so many times that often times I feel like it’s a parallel world that I live in. It can be incredibly difficult to come out of that reality because it becomes the new normal for you. It’s mentally paralyzing.
How do I stop this? What can I do to take control of my thought process?
The minute you feel a negative thought slipping into your mind, STAND UP wherever you are and immediately close your eyes and count back from 10 and take in deep breaths every five seconds.
Let’s look at this a bit closer..
Sally just finished her final paper for the semester and she spent the last week drinking copious amounts of coffee cramming for this final. Sally’s efforts paid off and she got an A-. She got a minus because she missed just a few marks but to Sally it’s an insult! If Sally worked her butt off on this assignment then Sally should have received an A+!
Immediately after seeing the A- she immediately starts to tell a cloud of negativity rush over her mind… Sally immediately STANDS UP, throws her hands up over her head which opens her airways, closes her eyes, and counts back from 10 taking in deep breaths and exhaling slowly. She inhales slowly, and as she exhales she is dismissing the negativity through positive thought reinforcement. “I did amazing on this paper. I worked my butt off! I am proud of my work!” Over and over Sally repeats this to herself and she can feel the cloud free from her mind.
What did Sally just do? She changed the way she thought in which she changed the way she felt instantly.
You’re not a failure, you never were, and you never will be. Believe in yourself! You can achieve success in everything you do in life. Believe you can and you will!
Remember, if you change the way you think, you’ll change the way you feel.