“Our life is the creation of our mind.” – Buddha
Depression is one of the most common mental health problems in the United States. It can happen to anyone, at any age, and to people of any race or ethnic group. In addition to debilitating sadness, those grappling with depression typically lose pleasure from daily life, experience feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness, and have trouble concentrating. Depression can lead to significant interference with daily aspects of life, such as declining performance in school or work, isolation from friends, and increasing withdrawal from family members.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) significantly helps in the treatment of depression and anxiety. CBT differs from other therapy approaches in that it focuses on the ways a person’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are connected and affect one another. In CBT, you and your therapist work together to identify patterns of behavior that need to be changed. You’ll also learn and practice powerful strategies to help counteract the negative thinking associated with depression. The goal is to recalibrate the part of your brain that’s keeping a lid on your happy thoughts. Regular CBT sessions and work you do outside of therapy help to reinforce these new, more positive patterns of thought. To be able to recognize those negative judgments and leave them behind can be very liberating.
Here are some of the many strategies that can help you create more positive, life-enhancing thought processes:
- Find new opportunities to think positive thoughts. For example, people who enter a room and immediately think, “I hate that wall color,” might instead train themselves to locate five things in the room they like. Strive to reframe your thoughts into something positive at least three times per day.
- Learn to accept disappointment as a normal part of life. Disappointing situations are a part of life, and your response can affect how quickly you can move forward. Rather than wallowing in despair when you’re let down, allow yourself to feel disappointed and remember that some things are out of your control. Work on what is within your control: think about what happened, what you learned from the experience, and what you can do differently next time. This process can help you move on and feel better about your future.
- Finish each day by visualizing its best parts. At the end of the day, write down the things in your life for which you’re most thankful. Recording these positive thoughts can help you to form new, optimistic associations in your mind.
By taking control of your thoughts, you can determine your destiny. Rather than sitting idly by, you can become the architect of your life. While you can’t stop the negative thoughts that spring up in your mind from time to time, how you handle them is up to you. You can give them credence or you can reject them. The choice is always yours.
If you need help finding your happier, more productive life, we can help. Reach out to us anytime.
By Andrew Walen, LCSW-C, LICSW, CEDS, Executive Director at The Better Brain Center. If you would like to get in touch with Andrew please call 833-964-8483 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.