Depression and anxiety can be overwhelming but there are solutions. Today, I'd like to share some cognitive strategies that can help you break the cycle of depressive and anxious thought patterns.
The first step to banishing negative thoughts is to become aware how often you are having such thoughts.
Negative thoughts that often occur when one is depressed or anxious include patterns of generalizations such as "always" and "never." Here are a few examples.
- "Things always go wrong."
- "I always feel so overwhelmed."
- "There's never enough time for me to get things done."
- "I always have too many things going on."
- "Things will never work out for me."
How many times in your day do you find yourself thinking these type of thoughts?
These type of blanket generalizations make it difficult to recognize that there are indeed moments when things are actually going right. Thus, it becomes easy to form the perception that life is always going wrong and never balanced. This perception can lead to depression and anxiety.
When you recognize such thought patterns, turn it around. For example, you can consciously put things in perspective by simply avoiding thinking in terms of "never" and "always:"
"In this moment things are going wrong, but it is temporary. I have the power to change the situation and create things that are right."
"I am feeling overwhelmed right now, but I do not have to stay overwhelmed."
"Today, there's not enough time to get things done. I am capable of creating the time on another day."
All of us feel overwhelmed or anxious at times, but the key to preventing a cognitive groove that says, "life is always overwhelming or difficult" is to consciously replace negative thought patterns with more positive thoughts.