We are happy today to share the second (hopefully of many) guest blog(s) written by our dear friend and colleague Dr Melanie du Preez. Melanie has been in private practice as a clinical psychologist since 2001. Currently she is also doing groups for teenagers at Parkmed Neuro-clinic. She is passionate about the welfare of children and teenagers. She received my PhD in 2012, with as theme Resilience in children. Her life philosophy is, in the words of Ghandi:”Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Please feel free to contact Melanie on her contact details above.
Making the changes-Part 2
Some suggestions for doing things differently:
- Focus your attention fully on another activity
Put on some music - sing and dance along
- Help others
- Talk to someone
- Physical exercise - walk, swim, go to the gym
- Engage in a hobby or other interest - if you don't have one, find one! What have you enjoyed in the past? What have you sometimes thought about doing but not got around to?
- Write down your thoughts and feelings - get them out of your head
- Just take one step at a time - don't plan too far ahead
- Pamper yourself - do something you really enjoy, or something relaxing
- Positive self-talk - encourage yourself, tell yourself: I can do this, I am strong and capable - find an affirmation that works for you (even if you don't believe it at first!). Write it down and memorise it for when you need it.
- Do something creative
- Tell yourself: "This will pass, it's only temporary". "I've got through this before, I can do it now".
We cannot stop our thoughts. They are automatic and in response to every situation we find ourselves in. However, we can guard against them becoming distorted and thus in taking control of our reactions (thoughts) regarding events; we control our emotions and response surrounding them.
Cognitive (Thought) Distortions
- Magnification and Minimization: Exaggerating or minimizing the importance of events. One might believe their own achievements are unimportant, or that their mistakes are excessively important.
- Am I wearing those “gloomy” specs again?
- What would be more realistic?
- Catastrophizing: Seeing only the worst possible outcomes of a situation.
- What is more likely to happen?
- Overgeneralization: Making broad interpretations from a single or few events. “I felt awkward during my job interview. I am always so awkward.”
- It was just one time that it occurred.
- Magical Thinking: The belief that acts will influence unrelated situations. “I am a good person—bad things shouldn’t happen to me.”
- What is the more balanced view?
- Am I that powerful?
- Personalization: The belief that one is responsible for events outside of their own control. “My mom is always upset. She would be fine if I did more to help her.”
- How would someone else see it?
- What is the bigger picture?
- Jumping to Conclusions: Interpreting the meaning of a situation with little or no evidence.
- What evidence is there on which to base my assumption?
- Mind Reading: Interpreting the thoughts and beliefs of others without adequate evidence. “She would not go on a date with me. She probably thinks I’m ugly.”
- These are my own thoughts?
- Do I realistically know what others are thinking?
- Fortune Telling: The expectation that a situation will turn out badly without adequate evidence.
- How likely is it really that I can predict the future?
- Emotional Reasoning: The assumption that emotions reflect the way things really are. “I feel like a bad friend, therefore I must be a bad friend
- Just because it feels bad, doesn’t mean it is bad.
- My feelings are just a reaction to my thoughts.
- Thoughts are just automatic brain reflexes.
- Disqualifying the Positive: Recognizing only the negative aspects of a situation while ignoring the positive. One might receive many compliments on an evaluation, but focus on the single piece of negative feedback.
- Am I only noticing the bad stuff?
- “Should” Statements: The belief that things should be a certain way. “I should always be friendly.”
- Would the world really come to a standstill if I don’t respond in exactly this way?
- All-or-Nothing Thinking: Thinking in absolutes such as “always”, “never”, or “every”. “I never do a good enough job on anything
- Things aren’t always black/white. There are shades of grey. Where is this on the spectrum?
- https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/change [Internet:2018-02-10].
- http://www.dbtselfhelp.com/selfhelpcourse.pdf. [Internet:2018-02-10].
- https://www.anxietybc.com/sites/default/files/What_is_CBT.pdf. [Internet:2018-02-10].
- https://depts.washington.edu/dbpeds/therapists_guide_to_brief_cbtmanual.pdf. [Internet:2018-02-10].
- https://www.therapistaid.com/worksheets/cognitive-distortions.pdf [Internet:2018-02-10]
This post is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered therapy. This blog is only for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered therapy or any form of treatment. We are not able to respond to specific questions or comments about personal situations, appropriate diagnosis or treatment, or otherwise provide any clinical opinions. If you think you need immediate assistance, call your local doctor/psychologist or psychiatrist or the SADAG Mental Health Line on 011 234 4837. If necessary, please phone the Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567 or sms 31393.