The concept of “mind over matter” may seem like a cliché solution, but when it comes to depression treatment, it is highly effective. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most widely used depression treatment methods in America, and it is proven to reduce depression symptoms. Through CBT, you can learn how to reverse negative thought patterns and distorted thinking. Here we will look at types of negative thought patterns and what you can do to overcome them.
Common Forms of Distorted Thinking
Negative thoughts often come from distorted thinking. Your mind processes information in a way that is not always logical or conducive to your happiness. This sparks depression because you are interpreting a situation in a negative way. Common types of distorted thinking include:
- Filtering: Focusing only on the negative elements of a situation, not the positives
- Ignoring Your Achievements: Similar to filtering, this involves focusing on negative traits within yourself while ignoring positive achievements
- Criticizing the Hypothetical: You criticize yourself based on what you should or shouldn’t do, rather than what you are actively doing
- All-or-Nothing: Evaluating the situation as completely one way or another, instead of seeing a middle ground
- Labeling: Assigning a label to yourself based on a situation, like “I’m a bad wife” instead of “I can’t believe I forgot our anniversary”
- Taking the Blame: Assuming full responsibility for a situation that was not entirely your fault. This can also apply to those who push blame on everyone else without evaluating their contribution to a scenario
- Mind Reading: Assuming what someone thinks or feels without hearing it from them directly
- Emotional Reasoning: Turning your feelings into facts – “I feel stupid. Therefore, I’m stupid.”
- Magnification and Minimization: Making a small problem seem much bigger than it is, or rationalizing a big issue as something small
- Predicting the Future: Anticipating that something will go wrong without proof that it will – “This is never going to work.”
- Overgeneralization: Predicting that one negative event will be the start of a negative spiral, not a singular issue that you can overcome
We’ve all been guilty of these thought patterns at one point or another. If they remain persistent though, they can quickly fuel your depression symptoms. By learning how to identify negative thoughts when they occur, you can prevent them from developing in the future.
What Can I Do to Stop Negative Thoughts?
Retraining your brain takes time. First, you must determine what kinds of distorted thinking you are guilty of. Then you need to work on evaluating situations without that form of thinking.
The best way to accomplish this is to work with a mental health expert through a depression treatment program. This person will help you identify the source of your depression and learn unique techniques to reverse negative thought patterns. Some people benefit from journaling, where they write down memories and assess their thinking process during that time. Others benefit from talking to an unbiased third-party about their emotions, where they gain a new perspective on a familiar situation. There is no cookie-cutter solution for depression treatment because your experiences are different than everyone else’s. Your therapist will come up with a recovery plan specifically for you.