Often depressed teenagers and/or adults spend hours dwelling and ruminating on the negative and fearful thoughts. Instead, your focus and attention needs to be on the positive, the good, and on thoughts that will move you in the right direction. The reality is that you amplify what you focus on.
You can choose to pay attention to the positive. If instead you choose to ruminate on your past experiences, over-analyzing them, and relive the feelings you had then you will only reinforce those feelings. Focus on the good (the wisdom you acquired through the past experiences), the positive (the problem solving skills you learned, the character you developed), and the beautiful (for example the relationship you developed and/or strengthened) etc….
A joyful person lives fully in the present, plans for the future (with flexibility and peace knowing that things can change) and has the wisdom to accept that they cannot change the past but they can learn from it.
The thoughts you choose to dwell on are thoughts you are choosing to reinforce – as well as the emotions that go along with them. So choose the thoughts you will entertain carefully! Even though you don’t feel it, you have more power over your thoughts than you think. If you developed the habit of spiraling down into rumination and despair there is hope. You can get control of your thoughts.
A Cognitive-behavioral therapist can teach you the skills you need to move away from anxiety and depression. When your thoughts begin to change, you will feel better. When you start acting differently despite your feelings, your beliefs and emotions will follow behind.
There are things in life that are outside your control. But you can control your thoughts. This is your life and you can decide to live it well. You can decide how you are going to handle your life circumstances. You can choose to think that you are a victim of your circumstances then your emotions and feelings will follow that thought, and you will feel powerless and hopeless. Or you can choose to think that you are capable of enjoying the good times and to problem solve and manage and/or overcome the adversity or challenges that are present in your life.
Your automatic negative thoughts are only thoughts that you’ve focused on for so long that they’ve grown and became larger. So now you believe you have no control over them. It is not true though. If you are coached to focus on newly constructive, positive, thoughts they will grow stronger and you will regain control over your thinking. You may also need to stop thinking too much, take a step, and just do something sensible to solve and/or overcome your problem.
So stop dwelling on self-limiting and self-defeating thoughts. If they come to your mind uninvited, notice them, and choose to let them go. You have I have better things to do than dwelling on them!
Dr. Baya Mebarek, LMFT
San Diego Couples & Family Therapy
We provide counseling in the convenient area of Sorrento Valley Road.
We also serve the surrounding areas of La Jolla, UTC San Diego, Del Mar, University City, Rancho Santa Fe, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Penasquitos, Poway and Escondido.