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changing negative thoughts to positive ones

How to change your negative thinking

Remember, it’s the depression speaking! Often, our thoughts in depression are actually a symptom of the depression: it is therefore like the depression speaking to us, rather than a thought that arises from within us or one that is unique to us. This form of generic thinking in depression, the negative thoughts and distortions, must first be identified and clearly labelled. We have looked at some of these aspects in earlier sections. You might need help from some other members of your family: imagine your partner saying something like this gently to you, or the children being encouraged to chorus, “That’s the depression speaking!” whenever you start to practise “All-or-nothing” thinking, or start to “catastrophize”. This can really help. Ultimately, you will have to learn how to do this for yourself, but initially some outside reminders can be useful. Essentially, you have to learn to differentiate between the depressive thoughts (those that are generated by the depressed state) and your more real, undepressed self.

Try to be flexible

“All-or-nothing” thinking is a form of thinking in absolutes. Some of the other forms of negative thinking or automatic thought forms are very fixed, or rigid. It is often necessary to consider what might lie in between the white and black; the all-or-nothing; the good and bad. Life usually is not this simple or this rigid. An in-between position is often more pragmatic and true to life. “Jumping to conclusions”—another form of thinking disorder—might also have to be looked at more flexibly, as might “Living by fixed rules”. If you can look at yourself from the position that you might need to be more f lexible, you can start to make steps in this direction. You may have to discard the “surety” of a fixed position, but (this is really a secret) it actually works better this way. Get to recognize when you might be getting stuck in such a fixed position. It does not really work.

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