Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 351090

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Calming thoughts

Posted by tabitha on May 27, 2004, at 11:19:08

Folks, I've been trying to combat my negative and self-critical thoughts. Mostly just swatting them away like gnats. Last night a whole train of upsetting thoughts had got ahold of me. I had some recent contact with the last guy I broke up with, and I was obsessing along the usual anger/guilt lines. I did some journalling where I wrote down all the upsetting thoughts, and the possible underlying distortings, and then I wrote some alternative, calming thoughts about the situation. I came up with 7 or 8 good ones, including 'I don't need anyone's permission or approval to break up with X.' and 'X is fine without me. He is on his path, and his path does not include dating me again.' and 'I am fine without X. My path does not include getting closer to X now.'

Then I wrote some affirmations like 'Even though I sometimes have negative and self-critical thoughts, I deeply and completely accept myself'. And the amazing thing is... it worked! I felt peaceful and calm, and got a sense of relief and well-being. Immediately some more negative thoughts jumped in, so I wrote more affirmations about accepting the peaceful feelings and feeling good about my new skill with self-calming.

Then I slept pretty well, and woke up earlier than normal today. I'm going to get to work on time, which has been becoming a struggle for me lately.

I have my therapy tonight, and I'm going to take in my journal and read some of it to her. I think her jaw will drop to the floor.


{{Happy Dance}} Good for you!!! (nm) tabitha

Posted by Racer on May 27, 2004, at 12:34:00

In reply to Calming thoughts, posted by tabitha on May 27, 2004, at 11:19:08


Re: Calming thoughts tabitha

Posted by Aphrodite on May 27, 2004, at 15:07:57

In reply to Calming thoughts, posted by tabitha on May 27, 2004, at 11:19:08

Hi Tabitha,

First of all, I'm so glad it worked and that you are feeling better! Secondly, I'm sure you know that the affirmation you used is one from energy therapy, specifically EFT. My therapist used this too. I did not have the same results from it, but it's good to know that it can work. And I'm so glad it did for you.

Hope things continue on this path. From what I've read of what you have been going through, you truly deserve it!


My therapist would be so proud of you!!!! (nm) tabitha

Posted by Dinah on May 27, 2004, at 17:17:26

In reply to Calming thoughts, posted by tabitha on May 27, 2004, at 11:19:08


you're an inspiration tabitha

Posted by crushedout on May 29, 2004, at 19:35:14

In reply to Calming thoughts, posted by tabitha on May 27, 2004, at 11:19:08

what did your t say? my t would be proud of you also. *i'm* proud of you.


Re: Calming thoughts

Posted by pegasus on May 29, 2004, at 22:57:32

In reply to Calming thoughts, posted by tabitha on May 27, 2004, at 11:19:08

That is great! I wish I were better at doing that. I tend to start picking apart the affirmation, and then feeling silly about the whole thing, and it doesn't work. I need to be less analytical or self conscious or something. (Notice the negative self talk!)

On the other hand, sometimes I can address the negative self talk as if it were another person, and say, "Thank you for your opinion." And then try to see it as just one opinion. It's maybe part way there.



Re: you're an inspiration

Posted by tabitha on May 30, 2004, at 2:37:51

In reply to you're an inspiration tabitha, posted by crushedout on May 29, 2004, at 19:35:14

She was quite surprised, and pleased. Unfortunately we spent a bit of time arguing with me insisting the group and therapy had actually caused my mood to drop the past few months, and her saying that my depression caused me to react negatively to the group. Well, whichever way you slice it, I was spiralling down, and constantly upset over therapy, and I wanted her to acknowledge that. She pointed out that every time I make some progress, I tend to get mad at myself for not getting better sooner, or I get mad at her for not getting me better sooner. Umm, well, yes, I do that, but I still wanted her to admit some guilt or something. By the end of the session, I'd gone on to talking about how her new haircolor made her look like my mother. I noticed this last week but didn't want to mention it, and she asked my feelings about that, and I said I had mixed feelings, partly horrified, and partly happy that I was seeing her as my mother. She said 'sounds like I haven't been a very good mother lately.' so I guess I got my acknowledgement, sort of.

But my mood improvement was really remarkable last week, just from trying to catch myself every time I slipped into some 'negative emotional arousal'. It even changed my sleep cycle for the better-- I was waking earlier and spending less time in bed.

Today started out really well, but by the end of the day I managed to get upset and start obsessing about my appearance. Too much time at the mall I think. It's definitely a depressing thought train. Maybe I'll do some journaling on this one.


Re: Calming thoughts pegasus

Posted by tabitha on May 30, 2004, at 2:47:05

In reply to Re: Calming thoughts, posted by pegasus on May 29, 2004, at 22:57:32

I've known about this notion of challenging negative thoughts for years, but somehow I just didn't believe it would work, or didn't think it was important to do, or I tried it and didn't feel much, and stopped. Something just shifted lately. It hit me, I'm forty-something years old, and spend the bulk of my free time feeling upset about things that, in the big picture, are really pretty minor problems. And that website made me consider the idea that my 'negative rumination' might really be changing my brain chemistry for the worse. I got a little motivational boost I guess.

Saying 'thanks for your opionion' is good. It puts a little distance between you and the idea. My T always tries to get me to see those thoughts as coming from the Critical Parent, but I pretty much resist. Thinking I have this scary mean person inside me is, well, scary.

That scary person is right now telling me I'm old, fat, and ugly. It does sound like a pretty mean voice, doesn't it? I think I'll try talking back to it. And isn't it interesting that this voice starts up with that, right after I decided to spruce up my image and wardrobe a bit? Hmmm...


Re: you're an inspiration tabitha

Posted by crushedout on May 30, 2004, at 10:08:14

In reply to Re: you're an inspiration, posted by tabitha on May 30, 2004, at 2:37:51

Oh, God, yeah, too much time at the mall can make anybody feel depressed about their appearance. I think I know that dreadful feeling precisely. Makes me glad I haven't been to a mall lately.

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