Negative thinking and be seriously damaging to someone with bipolar, it can impact one's overall quality of life and hurt self-esteem. Sammi shares ways how to address negative thinking.
First, as a disclaimer, I want to address that I am not a licensed therapist, and if you do have problems with negative thinking or any other mental health problem, I do recommend seeking professional treatment. That is the best route to take, but I will be sharing my own experience with something that helped me and is something that I did learn in therapy.
Types of Cognitive Distortions
So one of the things that worked best for me–regarding negative thinking–is to be aware of cognitive distortions–inaccurate thoughts that your brain will come up with.
They're often not true; they're very distorted. They aren't rational thoughts, and they usually aren't accurate thoughts.
I'm going to give a rundown of the most common cognitive distortions, and I do recommend that you research these more on your own. Just a quick Google search will take you to more information about cognitive distortions.
Filtering is when we consider the negative details of a situation and magnify those, and just wholly filter out any positives on the situation.
You're filtering out all the good things about something and just focusing on the bad stuff, and then your version of reality will become distorted and usually darker than it should be.
2. Polarized Thinking
Polarized thinking, also called black and white thinking. You think in a way where there's no middle ground, things are either amazing or horrible. In life, everything isn't a shade of gray. It's usually not fantastic or terrible; there's usually a middle ground.
So you'll categorize people or situations as either failing to meet your expectations or meeting your expectations. You have to think in a way where things are complicated.
Thinking in a black and white way can often lead to negative thinking.
Overgeneralization is where you will come to a general conclusion based on a single incident or a single piece of evidence. You'll think that since something happened once, it'll happen again or again, but usually, that's not the case.
Life is very varied and unpredictable, so you can't generalize things from one lousy occurrence.
Catastrophizing is another type of cognitive distortion. Instead of seeing an event for what it is, you will make it like a much bigger deal than it is.
5. Emotional Reasoning
Another cognitive distortion is the emotional reasoning. So if you feel a certain way, you'll think that's true.
If you feel stupid, ugly, or bored, you will think you are those things because you feel that way, then it must be true when in reality, you're just feeling that way. It's not necessarily true.
You have to look at the facts of a situation, and not just go with how you feel because that can distort your reality.
Tips for Finding Help
There are a lot of cognitive distortions, and I highly recommend you research those if negative thinking is a big problem for you. I also do recommend counseling; it can help so much, and another thing that I recommend is antidepressants.
If therapy doesn't help, then often it can be because your negative thoughts are occurring because you have a serotonin deficiency or some other type of chemical imbalance, and that can trigger negative feelings.
Even if you're trying to confront cognitive distortions, it can be beneficial to take a medication that will increase your serotonin levels in your brain so that you will kind of automatically think more positively.
There are a lot of different things that you can do to help with negative thinking, and these are just my tips and the ideas that worked best for me.
I take an antidepressant, and it's honestly a miracle drug for me, but I've also had great success with therapy as far as addressing cognitive distortions because it is so easy to get trapped in negative ways of thinking, negative patterns of thought if it's the way you've always thought.
So it's really great to see a therapist who knows what they are talking about as far as cognitive distortions and negative thinking.