Google Translate

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

If You Are Feeling Down, Check If Any of the Following is The Cause!

Dr. Aaron T Beck and Dr David D Burns argue that depression mostly results from erroneous thinking and it is within the reach of a man/woman to control these furtive thoughts that dump us in needless gloom. Simply put, what they mean is: our thoughts govern our moods. Therefore, if one thinks right, one is certain to feel right. 

But then, the question is: Why do we think at all in that fashion? Burns says that owing to certain self-defeating thought patterns we end up in such ‘cognitive distortions’ – the way in which one’s mind convinces one of something that is not really true. These inaccurate thoughts – indeed sounding rational and accurate – reinforce negative thinking/emotions that ultimately make one feel bad about himself/herself.  Whenever one is feeling upset, as a first step to come out of it, Burns suggests that one may check if he/she is thinking on the lines of the ten most common self-defeating patterns listed hereunder, for it helps them realize how they are fooling themselves. 
  • All-or-nothing thinking: One tends to see everything in black and white. In such polarized thinking, there is no middle ground—tends to place people or situations in “either/or” categories. If an otherwise “A “grade student gets one B then he/she thinks that he/she is a total failure. It will set him/her up for discrediting endlessly.
  • Overgeneralization: Based on a single incident of bad experience people tend to conclude uniform bad luck.
  • Mental filter: One seized by a negative fragment of a situation, dwells on it endlessly. In the process, he/she tends to eliminate everything positive. The result is: reality gets distorted. As a result, everything is concluded as negative.
  • Automatic discounting: One often tends to brush aside even a compliment saying: “he is just being nice”. Burns labels this as a destructive distortion that usually emanates from a depressive hypothesis that dominates one’s thinking.
  • Jumping to conclusions: Under this fallacy one assumes that others are looking down on him, that too, without checking the validity of the assumption. Another feature is: looking into the future, he/she sees only disaster.
  • Magnification and minimization: Burns turns it as “binocular trick”, under which one is either blowing things up or shrinking them out of proportion. For instance, one looks at his/her imperfections through binoculars and magnifies them. But while looking at his/her strengths, he/she looks through the other end of the binoculars and shrinks everything.
  • Emotional reasoning: One believes that what he/she feels must be true automatically. For instance, one may think: “I feel guilty; therefore I must have done something bad”. One’s emotion appears to be enough evidence for such a conclusion. It rarely occurs to a depressed person to challenge this pattern of distorted reasoning.
  • Shoulds: Some people will have a list of ironclad rules about how others and they should behave. Such people propose to themselves: “I should do this” or “I must do that” and when they fail, they feel guilty. Similarly when others violate these shoulds, they get angry.
  • Labeling and mislabeling: People tend to generalize one or two qualities into a global negative judgment. For instance, if one has invested in a stock and if its price goes down he/she labels it as “I am a failure” instead of terming it as “I made a mistake”. Such labeling is irrational, yet people tend to ascribe unhealthy labels to themselves.
  • Personalization: It is a distortion where a person believes that whatever happens to him/her or whatever others do to him/her is because of his/her fault. According to Burns, these people suffer from a paralyzing sense of guilt. Because of which they never realize that what another person does is ultimately that person’s responsibility and not of him/her.
Once identified that he/she is thinking on the lines of any of these patterns, one may adapt the course suggested by Burns to overcome such negative thought process, which runs as under:

  • Writing down the negative thoughts on a piece of paper so that they would not buzz in one’s head, instead let them snare on paper.
  • Read over the listed cognitive distortion
  • Substitute them with objective thoughts so that the lie behind the earlier negativism is made defunct.

Some of the provocative positive insights Burns suggests to replace the existing negative thoughts are:

  • Feelings are not facts! —They only mirror one’s thinking process. When one’s thoughts make no sense, the resulting feelings will become just as absurd.
  • One can cope— When one eliminates distortions, coping with the real problem becomes less painful.
  • Not to base one’s opinion of oneself on his/her achievements— For, self-worth based on accomplishments is pseudo-esteem, not the genuine one. One cannot base one’s self-worth on looks, talents, fame or fortune.
  • The central philosophy of cognitive therapy is self-esteem— Burns says that self-esteem can be viewed as one’s decision to treat oneself like a beloved friend. Just as one treats a guest to make him feel comfortable, one must treat himself/herself similarly. Burns advises that one should do this all the time!


Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Recent Posts

Recent Posts Widget