Do you ever find negative thoughts popping into your mind? Thoughts like, “I am a loser, nothing I do ever works out”, or “No-one takes me seriously”. It is quite normal for people to have these kinds of negative judgemental thoughts – but they can be especially troublesome for people who are anxious or depressed. If we cannot unhook from them they become a mental ‘quicksand’ and we can get bogged down by them.
How do we stop these thoughts? Basically, we can’t! But one modern therapeutic approach, (called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy), uses strategies to help us see that these thoughts are simply inventions of our minds and we have a choice about whether we pay attention to them or not! Basically, your brain is producing thoughts all of the time, (it’s just doing its job), and the trick is to notice them just as ‘thoughts’ and not ‘reality’. So, for example, when you think, “No-one takes me seriously”, you notice the thoughts as thoughts, and say to yourself, “I am having the thought that no-one takes me seriously”. Learning to distance yourself from thoughts in this way doesn’t come naturally, but over time it can help to avoid getting so tangled up in them.
The key issue here is not to get bogged down in whether the thought is true or not. Instead, the really important question is whether the thought will help you to move towards what is important in your life. It is perfectly possible to notice having the thought, “No-one takes me seriously,” and still decide it is important to connect with people, and to pick up the phone and call a friend. We don’t have to let our thoughts determine what we do.
For NHS funded therapy for stress, anxiety or depression, phone (01208) 871905 or register online [HERE]