A distorted mind does not only come into play when writing horror novels or Tarantino-esque films. No, even the way you look at yourself in the morning can be altered by your perception of the world. Gaining better control of your thoughts and emotions is just one advantage of using some cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) treatment tactics on your own time. In fact, there are several CBT techniques to get you feeling more optimistic right now.
1. Cognitive-behavioral therapy
Being that this is a branch of psychology, it should come as no surprise that in order to do these, you need to be willing to reflect and meditate within yourself. Back when I first started cognitive-behavioral therapy to get over depression and anorexia, I will admit that I was terrified by the notion of unearthing the despicable pieces of my persona.
Learning your true self, analyzing your own fears… most of us run away from that responsibility, don’t we?
2. Do not fear yourself
Therein lies the first trick. Do not fear yourself. You can change your thoughts, and you can remake yourself. Once you accept that you might have to do a lot of contemplating on the issues that plague you the most, you are well on your way to becoming a better version of you.
3. Write or draw positivity to counteract negativity
I do this often, especially during those stressful moments when I just can’t close my eyes and meditate. When you can write, visualize, and read positive thoughts and images about yourself, you can immediately oust emotions that make you think, “I am no good.”
Sketch things that make you happy, or write words connected to joyful memories, and start drawing associations to those vibes to increase your mood rather than dwelling in lightless places.
This is also considered a way of finding opportunities to promote positivity. Do what makes you feel good. Think about what makes you happy. For example, if you look outside on a rainy day and think, “Today’s going to suck. I can’t do anything,” you are setting yourself up for a bad mood, right? Instead of seeing the rain as impeding a good day, say, “Great! Now I can get some housework or baking done!” or “Now I can do yoga all day!”
4. Recognize that disappointment happens
Life is not fair. Recognize that disappointment happens. Rigidly trying to plan out everything without anticipating mistakes sets up unhealthy thought processes. You begin to adhere a single route with success, and if you can’t acquire the end goal through that, you get stressed out and depressed.
This happens in relationships, when people can’t accept some traits of their partner, or at work when members of a team can’t collaborate because of inflexible views. How do you adjust your perspective to be more flexible? There are several ways.
One way is to keep a journal. Write down things that bothered you throughout the day and why. Then, think of all the other perspectives for viewing that situation. You will discover new ways to react and open your mind up for critical thinking.
Another method is to learn acceptance. Yoga and meditation help. You can also learn tolerance by asking yourself these questions whenever you feel keyed-up: “Why do I feel this way? Am I being reasonable?”
5. Let go of what can’t be controlled
Psychologists call this “catastrophizing,” or thinking the worst of every scenario. Think in terms of what is possible in any given moment, rather than the unfavorable results. Writing down these probabilities or holding a personal conference can help you here.
Using these CBT exercises will help reconstruct your thoughts to work for you rather than against you. These tricks can be used anywhere – before interviews or presentations, during traffic jams, or even when the kids are off-the-wall. Simply put, these cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques flip negativity into constructive energy so that you can make reasonable choices.