Cut off negative thinking


Becoming aware of my negative thinking and learning the skills to cut negativity thinking out of my life.

With all the negative thought uppermost in my mind I always have one to apply to any situation. These are examples:

+ Situation: My friend called and just talked a few minutes on the phone and then hung up.

+Thoughts: I blundered again. I must have said something that offended him.

+Emotion: Hurt and depression

+Situation: A child turned away from me in the store and ran to his mother.

+Thought: I’m really ugly. It’s awful to scare children.

+Emotion: Depression and despair

+Situation: My new blender wouldn’t turn on today.

+Thoughts: I’m really dumb. I can’t do anything right. I should be able to figure this out.

+Emotion: Sadness and helplessness.

The following are some of my own situations or events in which I used negative. self critical thoughts and beliefs which resulted in depression and bad feelings.

A. Situation (What happened) Make up your own._________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________B. Thoughts (What I believe or think about myself?)______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________C. Emotion (How I felt)______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

A Situation(What happened?)_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

B. Thoughts (What I believe or think about myself?) ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

C. Emotion (How I feel?)______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Depressive thoughts are sometimes called warped thinking, irrational thinking, automatic thoughts, crooked thoughts, or negative thinking. These thoughts are not “crazy”  thoughts like “I’m God” or “My neighbors car is a disguised spaceship”. But rather small negative thoughts about myself that seem possible to me when I am depressed. They are just as untrue as “crazy” thoughts but they can add up to a lot of pain and unhappiness

Small negative thoughts like these are the culprits:

I deserve to  be sad

I should do things better

It isn’t fair

I’m a failure as a parent

What if my Mother comes and sees this home?

It’s always my fault.

I’m just a jerk

This will be a disaster

Now, I’m thinking that I have thought like that, but I can’t do anything about what I think. The thoughts just come into my head and I can’t do anything about it.

Any thought that contains “I can’t” is one to look at more closely because it leads right back into the depression cycle.

If I look at thoughts as things I do, then I can change them. I can change other things I do. Negative or irrational thoughts are like any bad habit that can be changed by:

+Becoming aware of the bad habit.

+Learning to do something else.

In the case of negative thoughts, I have to:

+Pinpoint the negative and self-critical ways I think about myself.

+Find other ways to think about myself.

A good way to remind myself that there are other ways of seeing myself is to imagine the court scene. I am both  the prosecutor(accuser) and the defendor.  Each time I accuse myself of something bad, I will also think of a positive way to look at it. This will be my self-defense against my self-criticism.

Example:   (Accusor) I should do a better job………………………………………..(Defendor) This is good enough for now. It isn’t that important.

This new kind of self talk (self defense ) will seem “right” if it is practiced often.

How to self-defend -three steps.


In our examples we talked about how: Situation leads to thought leads to emotion. Many people may recognize the emotion “I feel depressed” but may not understand why.

2nd Step                                Quiz yourself

Why do I feel bad?

A.  I criticize myself and give myself negative messages.

Such as

+ You jerk, why did you do this?

+ You’re so clumsy. Why don’t you stand up straight?

+ There you go eating sugar again  – you are going to be a blimp.

B. Am I making impossible demands of myself?

+I should not make any mistakes.

+ I have to do well on this test.

+I must always keep things neat and clean.

C.  Am I thinking in terms of “all or nothing?”

For example

+ I am a total failure.

+ I ‘ll never be happy.

+I always have to do the dirty work.

D. Do I place too much importance on what happened.

For example

+I can’t stand to be rejected

+It would be absolutely awful if my Mother saw me now.

+What if I break my leg while skiing?.. That would be the end of everything for me.

E.  Am I placing blame on someone else for my problems as an excuse for not taking responsibility for myself?

For example

+   That child is driving me crazy. I can’t do anything about it.

+We never go anywhere. Why don’t you take me somewhere?

+That store has the worst rip off prices in town. I always get cheated.