"A clinical counsellor on Vancouver Island says it's natural to feel anxious in light…
A THERAPISTS GUIDE TO DEALING WITH NEGATIVE THINKING IN BC
Ever notice how easy it is to get caught up in negative thinking. Once negative thoughts start happening, they can really snowball out-of-control. If this happens, you most likely end up all stressed out, anxious, depressed or angry. One of the most powerful skills in changin runaway thinking is to become an expert of your own thoughts and patterns. The more familiar you are, the better equipped you will be to interrupt and stop unwanted, and often, insecure thinking. As noted before, left unchecked, this style of thinking will often lead to a spirallying of out-of-control thoughts, generally going from bad to worse. When this happens, you may end up feeling uptight, stressed out and generally agitated and easily irriatate. And the thing is that, when you get really absorbed in these thoughts and the details of whatever it is that is upseting you, the worse you end up feeling. One thought leads to another, which leads to another that is even worse than the last thought.
As an example, consider when you might wake up in the middle of the night and remember to do something important the next day. This might lead to starting to think about all the other things that need to be done the next day. This cascades into you starting to rehearse possible conversations and/or interactions with work colleagues, friends or family members. As a result, you get more and more upset, getting wrapped up in how busy things are for you. This might even lead to extreme negative self-talk, something like “I can’t believe how crazy it is for me, I can’t stand it, my life really sucks”. It’s easy to see that if this line of thinking persists, folks tend to end up feeling sorry for themselves and about one’s future prospects and lifestyle. For a lot of people, these type of thoughts are relentless, and forever present and on-going, as if you are under attack by your own style of negative thinking. As a result, many people feel uninspired about themselves, their circumstances and situation, and apathetic about their future.
THE SOLUTION TO NEGATIVE SNOWBALL THOUGHTS
Waypoint Counsellors are here in Victoria to Help
The solution is to first become a student of your own style and way(s) of negative thinking, and then become a master of the thoughts. By being a student, you really just need to become more aware and familiar of what exactly is happening in your head before your thoughts have a chance to build up any significant momentum. This is easier said than done, mostly because you may have been thinking in this manner for a long time. Nevertheless, the earlier you catch your negative thoughts, the better able you will be in interrupting them and steering them elsewhere. In the example, you might notice the thoughts that when you started to run through the list of things you had to do the next day. Now, rather than obsessing and worrying about it, you say to yourself, “here’s that thing that I do again” or any other way to bring yourself to say ‘hey, I’m doing it again’, and then steer yourself away from those thoughts. The goal is to stop the train of thoughts before it really spins out and becomes too big to handle. In the example, rather than getting overwhelmed by the neverending list of things-to-do, try instead on being thankful that you’ve remember that important thing you needed to do.
Lastly, if you are a super-busy person, like many of us seem to be these days, keep in mind that by filling your head with overwhelming thoughts, it will only amplify and exacerbate the situation by increasing your own level of stress. Interrupt the cycle as soon as possible. This is the key to getting unstuck and changing the negative thinking patterns. Once you start mastering interrupting these thoughts, you will find you are spending less time and energy with negativity.
Speaking with a counsellor can help you along with the process. Learn more about the counselling services offered through our downtown Victoria location with a quick phone call or by browsing through our online mental health resources.