We all have depressing or negative thoughts flowing through our minds in a constant stream throughout the day. These thoughts are sometimes called “monkey mind” because we all have them swinging from one tree to another, and they are self-perpetuating.
The secret to managing the effect these depressing thoughts have on you is based on how you handle them. The worst way to handle them is to get involved with them. What I mean by that is to listen to them or even believe them. Do you really think all your thoughts are trustworthy and should be taken seriously?
In this exercise, you will be doing a very unique thing with these thoughts. Dr. Michael Yapko is a psychologist and author known for treating depression using short term therapy. In his book Depression Is Contagious
, he describes some powerful exercises that people can use to manage their depressing thoughts. This is one of his favorite techniques:
• Tell your depressing thoughts as they sift through during the day, that you will reserve a specified time for them in the evening... lets say from 7:00pm till 7:15pm every night and during those 15 minutes that you will give your full attention to these thoughts. You are inviting them in and welcoming them from 7 till 7:15. During this time you will commit to being fully there and attentive to them only.
• What you will find if you carry out your end of the bargain is that they will wait to come in at that time (and leave you alone during the day) -- that is if you do truly honor them as promised. You will probably find that after you have done this for 6 to 10 days that they will need less and less time. It's sort of like when you give a child quality time and attention, they start to require less of it.
After doing this diligently for a few weeks you will feel a shift in your depressive thoughts ...TRY IT and let me know how it works for you.
- Susan Quinn