So much of what we tell ourselves are absolute lies. The thoughts that run through our minds moment by moment can be so very damaging. Our thoughts can cause us unnecessary fear, mistrust, sadness, anger and so on. Our emotions are so connected to our thoughts, and what we think is directly connected to our feelings. It is a cycle that be torturous.
The good news is that this is a pattern that can be broken. When we find ourselves spinning out with a barrage of negative thoughts, there is a technique that we can use to stop the insanity in our heads. Many self help books have been written about this as a way to achieve more happiness in our lives. The technique is called Reframing and it is a method used in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
It works by identifying the negative thought and finding the lie behind it. Once the lie (or distortion) is clear, it is much easier to dismiss the thought as false, and find a replacement thought that is closer to our truth and will ultimately relieve us of the awful feelings and emotions that were brought on by the negative thought.
An example of a negative thought might be “I will never be happy.” 😦 This thought immediately brings up feelings of sadness. Then, because we feel sad, more thoughts come in such as, “I can’t do anything right.” which then lead to even more negative emotions such as loneliness and failure.
So how do we change this pattern of thinking? The basic premise is to find the truth. How do we achieve this? By focusing on FACT, or the evidence for or against the idea. Our thoughts can be totally false, and when we use facts to debunk the lies, we can free our minds from the emotional damage that these distortions cause.
Taking the thought, “I will never be happy.”, Ask yourself these questions to identify if this thought is true or false. What are the facts, the evidence?
Have you ever had a happy moment in your life? When was it? What were you doing? Who was with you? What do you see in your mind?
If the answer is “Yes” and you have had at least one happy moment, (I really hope you have) and you can remember it and describe it in detail, then you have already proven that you have the truth, the evidence against the thought that “I will never be happy.” You already have facts to support that you indeed already have been happy at least once in your life. So “never” is a total lie. Yay! This is good.
Now fully armed with a much more realistic idea in our heads about being “happy”, you might be able to reframe that negative thought and instead say to yourself thoughts like “I can be happy, I have been happy before, and I know what makes me happy, I am going to make myself happy.” These thoughts brings about very different feelings and emotions. This mindset leads to a state of hope, creative processing to seek happiness, and feelings of optimism.
The fact is, we already have all we need to break these all too common negative thought cycles. Our own minds can be used to hurt us, or help us. We have more healing power in our very own brains than can ever be used.
So next time I find myself feeding my brain with self loathing, negative thoughts, I am going to ask myself, “Is this an absolute FACT?” “Do I have actual EVIDENCE to support this thought”? I am going to believe that the answer is probably going to be a resounding “NO!” And then I am going to reframe that nasty thought into one that I know is more realistic, factual and TRUE.
Try it for yourself if you’d like. And if you do, I hope it helps. We need all the help we can get out here.