Self-Compassion Series: Free Yourself from Destructive Thoughts

By Dianne M. Daniels | attitude

Do you find yourself thinking negative thoughts? I’m sure that you, like most people, were told to “not get too big for your britches” early on, and those “principles” get reinforced on a daily basis, personally and professionally.

It happens on television, the internet, and at work. It happens when you talk to people in your neighborhood. We are told time and again in a myriad of ways not to thing “too much” of ourselves – heaven forbid we should be egotistical!

But what happens when those thoughts turn from self-effacing to negative and then to destructive ones? And what if you direct that destructive energy and the accompanying thoughts at yourself?

Destructive thoughts can be a dangerous path to travel. Hopefully, if they are happening to you, they won’t last, and you can get back on track. However, should they continue indefinitely, this should be cause for alarm.

Destructive thoughts, such as feeling hopeless, can eventually turn into depression and despair. This can lead to other behaviors such as heavy drinking or drugs. It can make you withdraw from life and feel like you have nowhere to turn.

If you have been feeling down for any length of time, find someone – a mental health professional – who can help. If you are feeling depressed and even suicidal, please don’t wait to take action. Depression is treatable, and treatment doesn’t always have to include drugs, but there are a number of different drugs available for treatment. A qualified professional will know the right course of action to take, and your treatment may even be covered by insurance.

If you feel like you are not yet at a point of being depressed or thinking destructive thoughts, but you are still experiencing negative thoughts, you can shake free from them. Start by listing the good things you have in your life. This doesn’t mean only the material things, it’s the people in your life that love and care for you who should be on that list. If your health is good, this is another item to go on the list. These are items that help to make you grateful and help you turn your thoughts from negative toward the positive.

Visualization can also help improve your mood and your mindset. Think about times when you were happy. What was present during those times? Was it your friends and family? A favorite activity? A beneficial challenge, like learning a new skill or trying a new sport? Whatever ingredients were present, try to recreate them.

Although this article gives some suggestions for things to try when you are feeling down, it is not meant to be used as advice. Only a qualified mental health professional can diagnose if there is a problem and what to do about it. Don’t take advice from others who are not qualified. Family members may have good intentions, but they probably have not been trained to handle extreme cases of destructive thinking. Even if some are, it’s usually not a good idea to treat family members.

Working with a mental health professional gives you access to someone with training and objectivity – a quality your family, friends and loved ones will find hard to employ where you are concerned. Be focused and intentional about researching qualified professionals and get the help you need to empower you to overcome destructive thoughts.

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