It’s natural to be down when your mind is full of bad thoughts. While ignoring the negative chatter will be difficult, there are actions you can take to improve your mental health condition.
Cognition is a mental process that enables us to be aware of our thoughts and to respond to them by using faculties like attention, memory, knowledge, experience, sensory input, analysis, reasoning, comprehension, evaluation and judgement. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) empowers you to take control of your thoughts and teaches you how to deal with daily problematic events, your reactions and behaviours.
There are ways we can challenge our thoughts:
Awareness: Being conscious of the feedback from our senses of touch, taste, sight, smell and hearing, as well as being alert to emotions evoked by our thoughts.
Mindfulness: Identifying a thought for what it really is, rather than letting it mislead us into accepting it as an irrefutable truth. Allows us to marginalise and manage thoughts, instead of blindly allowing them to dictate our feelings or responses.
Living in the present: Allows you to subdue thoughts about the past and the future and to accept thoughts about the present as the only reality. By neutrally observing a thought, like a disaffected onlooker, you can evaluate it impersonally and decide if it is important in the here and now – if it is not, you can dismiss it.
Remedial learning: By acquiring the skills to change our disarrayed thoughts into more compliant ones, we can diminish anxiety, stress, depression and disenchantment. We can unlearn old habits and acquire new ones. We can learn to think and act more sensibly.
Putting your inner voice to the test
Self-talk is our internal voice, and also the difficult part as it always feels true, even if it’s prejudiced or erroneous. If you’re having negative ideas, your self-talk is probably on a downward spiral.
Use this as a cue to stop and check yourself if you notice yourself being harsh on yourself, talking down your abilities, or lacking confidence. Is everything really as bad as your inner voice suggests?