HOW TO REDUCE NEGATIVE MOODS BY CHANGING YOUR THINKING


INTRODUCTION:
Although there are a number of ways to reduce negative moods, one of the most effective is to change your thought patterns. Like all other skills, this technique takes some practice; however, once you get control over your thinking, you will feel much better.

THE COGNTIVE MODEL:
First, it is important to realize that our moods are determined by our thoughts. We may experience the same event, but depending on how we think about it will determine how we feel about it. For example, if someone criticizes us, and we take it personally, we might feel depressed and/or anxious. On the other hand, if the same person criticizes us, and we think how this person actually goes around criticizing everyone, instead of feeling sad or angry, we might feel sorry for them.

THE TECHNIQUE:
There are three main steps to changing your thoughts: Identify, Evaluate, and Respond.

WHEN and HOW:
This technique is best learned at the beginning by writing everything down-the unhelpful thoughts, the evaluations (including distortions), and the responses. Writing can be done immediately, if possible, or later in the same day or same week. The sooner you get it written, the more clearly you will remember your thoughts, and the more quickly you will feel better. After doing this many times on paper, you can begin to do it in your head. Eventually, it will become an automatic process, and your thoughts will not lead you to depression nor anxiety.


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