For some mysterious reason when we feel depressed or anxious or stressed we often believe that the thoughts we are having, especially when they are negative ones, are FACT. “I am depressed it’s all hopeless” becomes a statement of truth simply because we think it, although it is a NAT, rather than fact.
The “truth” is that thoughts are no more than that, just thoughts. They are not fact, not necessarily the truth, (whatever the truth might be and assuming there is one.) Thoughts come into our heads for many reasons. Often they are are reactive, conditioned and not well thought out. Sometimes thoughts prevent us thinking in a reasoned way. When they are NAT’s, this becomes the case.
“I am depressed it’s all hopeless. It is a fact so what hope is there? I thought it, so it must be true??? “
Really! I don’t think so!
We often rely on whatever thought happens to come popping into our head. We believe them and often act in relation to them. For example: ” If it’s all really hopeless I might as well give up now, why bother, nothing is going to change anyway, so what is the point?”
By now the simple negative automatic thought has become a full blown story with a bad ending. And each time a similar situation repeats itself, so the same old story with the same bad ending repeats itself. This is all because we took a single thought and turned it into truth without testing, questioning or evaluating it.
In reality a NAT is just that; a NAT, it isn’t necessarily fact or true, but simply a negative “thought” which is capable of taking us putting us into a negative state of mind which then sets up many negative emotions and behaviours. Unfortunately we might not see that this thought is “Just a thought”. It isn’t fact by any stretch of the imagination although you might believe it whole heartedly.
Thoughts happen in our head and to a great extent we can chose what we think. The problem with NAT’s is that they are very powerful once they are inside our head; another problem is that we believe what they are telling us, often without examining them or testing them, we simply believe them.
Why would we choose to turn a negative thought into a movie with a bad ending? The movie gets played in our head as vividly as if it were fact and happening as we speak. But thoughts are just thoughts and therefore need examining and testing.
The problem is that the reality of NAT’s is not necessarily representative of what is actual reality. Often, the only place it is reality is inside our own head where thoughts that should be passing thoughts, take on a different dimension. They suddenly become masters of our mind, not to be questioned or challenged. We believe them and because of this we can be taken to a place of misery.
We believe that when a negative thought like: “I will be always be depressed” comes into our head that we have no reason to question it, we believe it is right and factual.
However, nothing could be further from the truth. Negative automatic thoughts are “Toxic” thoughts because we don’t bother to stop and think or check whether or not they are rational. They are called NAT’ and not “Intelligent thoughts” because they are automatic and happen without us thinking about them. They always portray a negative picture which we, for some strange reason turn into our own factual movie.
The problem is as I said before, thoughts are only thoughts, they do not necessarily represent reality and that is why it is dangerous to accept them as reality before checking and challenging them. Thoughts are there for us to use, to think about, discriminate with, and we should not to be dictated by them or blindly accept them. They can be tools if we use them wisely, but it is important to remember what they are, thoughts, just thoughts. They may be clever, wise, dangerous, wonderful, depressive, happy, positive or negative. They can be anything and as long as they don’t try to dictate truth to us, and as long as we are in control of them, and consciously aware of them, then all will be fine. The moment we are controlled and dictated by them we are not fine.
Thoughts may be valid or not, (valid, not true) but in order to know you’d need to test them out, challenge them from every perspective possible. You’d need to do this consciously so that you know whether or not you reacted in a conditioned way without thinking or consciously. You want to know it consciously, not unconsciously. You want to differentiate between those thoughts based on facts, and those based on assumptions or conditioning.
If you are depressed does it mean it’s all hopeless? No it does not. Why not? Because when you are conscious and not stuck in conditioned state of mind you are completely at liberty to change your thoughts and situation.
I don’t say this lightly, it may not be easy to change, but it certainly doesn’t mean it’s all hopeless. If you give up it might be hopeless. If you believe it is hopeless, then it will be, but what if you decide, “No, I won’t allow these thoughts to control me. There is a way and I am going to find it”. You eventually become master or mistress of your own mind, you take control, not the negative thoughts.…. As I say, thoughts are just thoughts. You can’t touch them, but you can change them.
Good luck, Carole