Sunday, March 9, 2014

3 Tips on Challenging Disruptive Thoughts

1. I have had many people who read this blog reach out to me privately to share that they too have intrusive thoughts that lead to anxiety and depression.  My first reaction when I read such things, is "Wow, it was really brave of you to reach out to me via e-mail."  The second thing that I pray and encourage these brave people to do is to get a reference from someone you respect and trust to see a counselor ASAP! I emphasize respect because getting a counselor referral from someone who does not share your same worldview or ethics could lead you to someone that does not benefit your own mental health needs.  Be wise and discerning in this process.  Counselors are fantastic! Just seek out people you trust and respect for referrals (i.e. your pastor, rabbi, guidance counselors, doctor, etc)

2. Don't use money as an excuse to hold you back from getting the help you need.  Someone I very much respect once told me people can afford therapy if they make their mental and spiritual health a priority with their finances.  Maybe a $4.00 latte everyday from Starbucks could be substituted for a few counseling sessions a month. 

3. Aside from those, the best thing I have learned from my own meditation and therapy sessions is a little thing called "Mindfulness Meditation."  Learn to become aware of your thoughts but not a participant to them.  Here is an exercise my own therapist gave me awhile back when I experience an intrusive thought.  I work through the following questions to learn to reframe my initial thoughts:

          *How do I know this thought is true?
          *Is there another way to look at the situation/person/event that could also be true?
          *Who would I be if I didn't have this thought? (Imagine it, take a photograph)
          *How would I treat myself/others differently if I didn't have this thought?
          *How does thinking this thought help? Hurt?

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