The Archaeology of Catching Negative Thoughts

To fight depression and anxiety, you need to become aware of what you are thinking. This is usually not easy. We can think in shorthand, in images, in feelings. Memories can flit through your head and trigger negative emotional states. These thoughts can happen so quickly that you may not even notice them. But they can deeply affect your mood, sometimes changing how you feel for the rest of the day. They can prompt you to think other negative thoughts and the downward spiral begins.

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So the first step in catching negative thoughts is self-reflection.

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Becoming aware, noticing, and thinking about what you are thinking is tricky, especially when you first start. It is sometimes called metacognition – thinking about your thinking. Taking time and practicing is the best way I have found to do this. You can be astounded at the thoughts and impressions that fly through your head. For instance, if you never got over being a poor athlete in grade school, something could trigger that memory and you could think and feel the same type of thoughts you had when you were waiting to see if you were going to be picked last to be on the dodgeball team. Then you feel down and don’t even realize why.

I’ll post more levels of excavation in the thought catching process in later posts. First, work on catching your thoughts. I should warn you it is a life-long endeavor, but it does get easier with practice.

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Keep up the good work!

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