As the therapy saying goes, we are what we think…
In other words we are the sum of our thoughts and our actions. What we think about every second of the day becomes our reality. It goes deep into our subconscious mind (below our awareness) where it takes root. If you keep telling yourself that you are useless, hopeless, that your life is worthless and not worth living. Your subconscious mind will create that reality for you, thinking it is what you want.
It is absolutely vital that those with depression or other destructive thinking monitor their thoughts closely and take action towards a kinder and more helpful thinking process. One that supports good mental health and overall well-being.
Just for a moment, sit quietly and monitor your thoughts. Are they negative or positive. If you have depression and your thoughts (what you say to yourself) in your mind or out loud are primarily negative, then your thoughts are contributing to your depressed mood or state. There are a number of successful techniques that can impact successfully on negative thinking and therefore your mental state. In this post i will show you an effective technique that i have used for many years.
The negative reframe technique.
I use it as a form of CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). I believe i got the basic technique from Doctor Richard Bandler, co-creator of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming). I have just added my therapeutic style and experiences that work to it. Basically…as soon as a negative thought, such as i hate my self enters your head. Say SHUT UP! out loud (not in public) or do so in your mind. Then immediately state the positive opposite with absolute conviction…really mean it. “I AM A GOOD PERSON. I deserve to be happy and successful.” This reframes the negative thought into a positive one.
In time, the positive repetition will take hold at a subconscious level and the negative thoughts will diminish.
To make the positive affirmation even more powerful. Think of a time when you achieved something that made you happy and feel really good. A time when life was great. If you can’t think of one, pretend. Fake it until you make it as they say. Make the experience vivid in your mind. Make it big, bright and colourful.
Sense, imagine or visualise it in your minds eye the sounds, the feelings associated with it. Really feel the positive emotions, the whole experience as it was happening all over again. In the case of a constructed experience, pretend that it is real for you in every detail, then treble it and treble it again. Imagine that you are turning up a dial on the real or constructed memory.
When you feel you are at the peak of the experience. Anchor that positive thought or feeling, by pinching your thumb and forefinger together.
Now think of a pink elephant break dancing in polka dot boxing shorts or other similar daft thought to break your state completely. This takes you out of the technique. Now pinch your thumb and forefinger together to test the anchor. If done correctly, you should notice a positive change in your state, as the positive memory that you have associated to the anchor is recalled.
The anchoring technique will get stronger the more it is applied and used. It is also effective as a stand alone technique in its own right
Here is how the process works.
1, The word SHUT UP! spoken after the negative thought is a pattern interrupt. This breaks the negative thinking pattern.
2, The immediate positive affirmation replacement, is said with absolute conviction to start the process of replacing the negative neural linking process with a NEW successful outcome.
3, Associating a vivid positive memory with the positive affirmation creates more positive neural pathways.
4, Using the anchoring technique, helps to link the positive memory to the positive affirmation. Cementing the two together. Overwriting the negative thought process with a positive alternative at the subconscious level.
Remember… that it has taken years to create these negative thought patterns, so be patient. If you practice the technique, the positive reframing becomes automatic. This technique has worked for me and it can for you, however we are all different and what works for me may not for you. This is a genuine technique for reframing habitual negative thinking.
I am Professionally trained as a Clinical Hypnotherapist and NLP Practitioner. This technique has been successfully used by me personally and in a professional therapy setting. Since developing Bipolar, I personally have only had to use 1 and 2 of the process when needed on a daily basis. Part 3 and 4 has also been effective for me when needed.
Even without applying the anchor; remembering happy positive memories, such as on holiday etc in vivid detail, can have a positive impact on a depressed mood.
This post is for your information only. It is about what has worked for me to change negative thinking patterns and is not a substitute for any treatment regime or medical advice from your doctor or other medical practioner.
Please see my medical disclaimer for further clarification if needed.
I will be providing other effective techniques that have worked for me and clients in future posts.
Here are some popular Amazon books on the subjects discussed should you wish to know more.
Nigel Bashér – (Founder-Bipolar Days)
Clinical Hypnotherapist/NLP/Advanced Psychotherapy
I developed PTSD and Bipolar and this website is to raise awareness of Bipolar primarily and to help others with the condition.
I'm also a retired Clinical Hypnotherapist and Entrepreneur...in that i aspire to helping others through the internet with my self-help websites and products.