One of the biggest causes of depression is negative thinking. Most people have occasional negative thoughts, but thatís not what I mean. Iím talking about a pattern of negative thinking. To some of us, the glass is not only half empty, but it also has a big crack, and it's leaking all over us!
Iíve been called pessimistic and negative all my life, to which I always replied, ďIím not pessimistic-óIím realistic.Ē Having negative and painful experiences (especially if there are lots of them) causes us to expect the worst. As we all know, bad things do happen, but not always.
My justification for my negative attitude was, ďIf you expect the worst, not only are you not disappointed or caught off guard, but sometimes, youíre pleasantly surprised.Ē It made perfect sense to me, but what I didnít realize is that sometimes your negative thinking is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You expect bad things to happen, so you donít allow good things to happen, and you subconsciously invite bad things into your life.
This is especially true with regard to relationships. The fact is that no one enjoys negativity. Even at my most negative, I didnít appreciate anyone else raining on my occasional parade.
Youíve been around negative people. You know what a downer it is. Maybe the guys who never called again just couldnít deal with our doom and gloom. And maybe our negativity is what attracted all the jerks to begin with!
Iím not suggesting we should be all Pollyanna, expecting life to be a bowl of pitted cherries. Itís not. Sometimes you bite into a cherry, find a pit and chip a tooth. However, most of the time, those cherries are yummy and all your teeth stay intact. We should focus on the 100,000 yummy cherries rather than the one chipped tooth.
Weíre wired, then programmed to think the way we think, but itís not carved in stone. We donít have to continue to think so negatively. The first step in changing the way we think is to identify the negative thoughts. Weíve been doing it so long that we donít even realize it unless we pay close attention.
For example, letís say you go for a job interview. Youíre waiting in the lobby and you tell yourself, ďI shouldíve worn my black pants. These blue ones are too tight. And the blue in this shirt isnít a perfect match. What does that say about my organizational skills? Why am I even here? Iím not qualified for this job. Theyíll never hire me.Ē
Thoughts like those affect your attitude, self-esteem and the way you present yourself. If you arenít hired, it will most likely be because you presented yourself as a loser-ónot because you are one. You believed you werenít qualified for the job, so that is what you conveyed. If you donít believe in yourself, no one else will, either.
Make a conscious effort to think positively about yourself and speak those positive thoughts. Tell yourself, ďI am an intelligent, attractive and competent person. I am loveable, loved and appreciated. I am capable of doing any job for which I am trained. I am worthy of good things including love, praise, forgiveness and prosperity.Ē
You talked yourself into believing the negative things, so if you tell yourself positive things, eventually you can and will believe them.
Most of the time, our negative thoughts about ourselves come from cruel things that others have said. Sometimes those things are harder to overcome, but it is possible. And remember: Just because someone says something doesn't mean that it's true!
Regardless of how the negative thinking began, you donít have to allow it to control your life. The best way to learn how to change patterns of thinking is to see a licensed therapist. Talk therapy is an invaluable tool in dealing with thought patterns, and it can be instrumental in helping you overcome negative thinking, and that will decrease your depression.
You didnít start thinking negatively yesterday, so donít expect to change it overnight. Iíve been working on it for the past couple of years and Iíve made progress, but I still revert to my old ways of thinking when Iím not careful. Itís not easy, but itís worth the effort.
My husband is a very positive person. He has been my role model and my helper, and Iím so thankful for the changes heís helped me make toward positive thinking. If possible, surround yourself with positive people. Just as negativity seems to ďrub offĒ on you, so will positivity.
It still shocks me when I hear positive and hopeful things come out of my mouth! If a ďhalf emptyĒ person like me can become more positive, you can, too!