Category Archives: Anxiety
Work Un-Stressful Hours, If Possible
You may not have the luxury of picking your work schedule, but if you do, try to work times that are going to keep your stress levels low. Of course, this may impact your pay if you work in a commission-based job. If you are an hourly or salaried employee though, a change in hours will be incredibly beneficial for you.
Get A Stress Ball Or Similar Device
When you feel your anxiety levels start to rise, you may feel comfort in rolling a stress ball through your fingers or twirling a pen. Try not to use tactics like biting your nails or picking at your skin because those will create an unprofessional appearance. If you work at a desk, your clients may not notice you popping the cap of a pen off and on underneath the desk. Everyone responds differently to coping mechanisms, so you will have to figure out what works best for you.
This applies to your workspace and your time management throughout the day. Chaos and clutter are breeding grounds for anxiety. By organizing your office and your work schedule, you will improve your ability to fight anxiety and reduce your stress levels. At the end of each work day, take a minute to clean up. Straighten the items on your desk, clear out old containers from your locker, and create a peaceful environment to work in. When you come in the next day, you will already be starting off with a positive attitude.
Get A Good Night’s Sleep
Being well-rested will help you control your anxiety symptoms at all times, not just while you’re at work. As you sleep, your brain sorts out all the stressful and puzzling situations from the previous day. That’s why people say “I’ll sleep on it” when they need to make an important decision. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, your brain will not be able to handle the next day’s stress well. This will continue to pile up until you feel overwhelmed and full of panic. The extra sleep will also give you more energy throughout the day so you can be more productive and more alert at work. The benefits are endless.
For more information about anxiety treatment in Michigan, contact Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers today.
Anxiety disorders can make a normal day at work feel like a nightmare at times, especially if you’re in a position where you constantly encounter other people. Unfortunately, you need to make a living, and that may put you in uncomfortable positions from time to time. Treating your anxiety through anxiety therapy is the best way to learn how to deal with your symptoms in the workplace, but there are some general steps you can take to make your experience better. Here are some tips for avoiding panic attacks at work.
Talk To Your Employer About Your Anxiety
Before we can discuss ways to avoid panic attacks at work, we need to emphasize the importance of talking to your employer about your condition. This is particularly crucial if you have a severe anxiety disorder that may require medical accommodations. Many of our anxiety treatment patients at our counseling centers in Michigan say that they don’t want to talk to their managers about their anxiety for fear of losing their job. However, most employers are incredibly sympathetic and accommodating, as long as you are willing to help them help you.
Let your boss know what type of anxiety you have, what may trigger it, and what you are doing to treat it so it does not come across as an excuse not to work. That way, if you follow the other suggestions below, your management team will already be aware of your needs.
Understand Your Anxiety Triggers
Anxiety often comes with triggers that you can learn to deal with or avoid. Large crowds of people, overwhelming amounts of information, small spaces, and public speaking are just some potential anxiety triggers. Your anxiety counselor will help you figure out what those triggers are and how to handle them during your therapy sessions, but you may discover others while you are at work. Once you know what sparks your anxiety symptoms, you can either avoid those scenarios entirely or find ways to cope with them (Example: declutter a small office cubicle to make it feel more spacious).
Find Ways To Step Away From Stress
You may not always be able to take a break from a stressful situation, but do what you can to collect your thoughts. For instance, if you work in retail, you may excuse yourself to the stock room for a moment to clear your head, breathe, and prepare for whatever you are dealing with on the sales floor. If you are working with a customer, you will probably need to wait until after the transaction is complete to take your break. When all else fails, say you need to use the restroom and use that time to control your anxiety symptoms.
Continue to Part 2
Having anxiety can make everyday tasks quite challenging, especially when it comes to social settings. With that in mind, you still have bills to pay, which means you’re probably going to look for a job at some point in your life. These tips from our Michigan anxiety treatment center are designed to help you find a job when you have anxiety so you can lead a normal, productive life.
Understand Your Anxiety Triggers (And Find A Job That Avoids Them)
In order to set yourself up for success, you need to understand the triggers of your anxiety symptoms. These may be issues you face on a daily basis, or they may be events that only happen every once and a while. In any case, you should look for work that has a low amount of anxiety triggers. For example, if you have claustrophobia and are bothered by small spaces, you wouldn’t do well in a cubicle environment. If you have difficulty interacting with large crowds, you probably won’t do well in fast-paced retail or food positions. Find a job that will keep your stress and anxiety to a minimum, and you’ll have a much easier time getting through the day.
Apply Online When Possible
If your anxiety symptoms normally keep you at home a lot, make the most of the time you have. The majority of employers now have online portals for job applications, so you can apply just about anywhere right from home. You will still need to visit a physical location for an interview, but this saves you from going around door-to-door for apps.
Work With A Therapist To Reduce Anxiety Symptoms
Anxiety therapy is one of our specialties here at Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers in Metro Detroit, MI. We have several counselors and therapists on staff who specialize in depression and anxiety treatment. With the help of a therapist, you can gain a better understanding of the root causes of your anxiety and how to control your symptoms. Most of our patients see tremendous turnarounds in their lives because of the tools and techniques they learn in their therapy sessions. Your counselor will work with you directly to give you the best shot at a great career.
Prepare Yourself For The Interview – You’ve Got This!
If you get a call or email about a job interview, take some steps to prepare yourself ahead of time. Use self-esteem boosting techniques to get your mind excited before the big day. If you think your anxiety is going to cause you to run late, schedule enough time to get to the interview early. Set out your clothes, beauty products, food, or anything else you need the night before so you are ready to go when the time comes. Keep your stress levels as low as possible, and treat this just like any other one-on-one conversation you may have. Maintain a positive outlook the whole way through, and nothing will stand in the way of landing a job with anxiety.
Avoid Your Spouse’s Anxiety Triggers
In the first part of this anxiety therapy guide for married couples, we discussed ways you can adjust your behaviors to accommodate your spouse’s anxiety. This concept falls in line with that. If your spouse has specific anxiety triggers, like going to a place with large crowds or being around fireworks, do what you can do avoid those. Your spouse may be asked to face his or her triggers during his or her anxiety therapy, but that is something that the therapist will plan out. The goal would be to gradually desensitize your spouse to the trigger so it is not a trigger any longer. If that is in fact the plan, you will need to follow the therapist’s directions to determine how to work around your spouse’s triggers.
Be As Understanding As Possible
There will be times that you feel frustrated dealing with your spouse’s anxiety. This is perfectly normal and expected in a stressful situation. Do all you can to put your frustrations aside, especially when your spouse is going through an anxiety attack. In many cases, the spouse will apologize afterward for acting a certain way or responding a certain way. Then you can talk about ways to avoid similar conflicts in the future. Remember that your spouse is just as frustrated as you because of his or her anxiety symptoms, but together, you can find ways to make the environment better for both of you.
Keep Household Stress To A Minimum
Stress will not only make your spouse’s anxiety symptoms worse, but it will also make you more agitated by the anxiety. In other words, having stress in your life will make the situation worse on both sides. Do what you can do minimize the stress in the household. Speak openly and honestly with one another. Do not live above your means. Work through difficult situations together, and be aware of when your spouse has a stressful day.
In addition to anxiety therapy, you and your spouse could use couples counseling to build your communication skills and improve your interactions with one another. Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers offers a wide range of counseling programs in Michigan, and we would love to see your marriage thrive. Give us a call at (248) 244-8644 to schedule an appointment, and you can be on your way to the relaxing, anxiety-free life you both deserve.
Living with anxiety is a challenge, not just for the person experiencing the anxiety but also for those who must make adjustments for it. If you are married to a person with anxiety, there are things you can do to make the anxiety less intense and ease the stress throughout your marriage. Use the tips below to help your spouse get through his or her anxious moments so you can enjoy a better quality of life.
Understand What Causes Your Spouse’s Anxiety
Anxiety can be triggered by a wide range of experiences and emotions. Some people feel anxious in crowded areas or in rooms with people they do not know. Others experience anxiety when they feel pain or get sick because they believe their health risks are worse than they actually are. Anxiety can also be brought on by memories of traumatic experiences, or sometimes it can come out of nowhere. Every person is completely unique.
Try to understand what causes your spouse’s anxiety. You may be able to do that through simple observation or by talking to your spouse about his or her feelings. This conversation is best completed when the spouse is not feeling anxious because it can be difficult to relay emotions in the midst of a panic attack. If your spouse is working with an anxiety therapist, you could ask if you could attend a session every once and a while to get a better understanding of what your spouse is going through. This insight will help you prepare for when an anxiety attack may happen so you are not caught off guard by it.
Ask Your Spouse About Adjustments You Can Make
Your spouse knows his or her anxiety better than anyone. Talk to your spouse about adjustments you can make to reduce his or her symptoms. For instance, if you speak in a rapid manner, the speed of your voice and thoughts as a whole may make your spouse feel anxious. Slowing down your speech or reducing the volume of your speaking voice will help keep the environment as calm as possible. Make any adjustments you can, within reason, to help your spouse with his or her anxiety.
You may also ask your spouse how you should respond during a panic attack. Some people react well to having someone around to keep their mind off the anxiety. Others prefer to sit in silence and work through their anxiety on their own. You may be able to help in a physical way, like rubbing your spouse’s back or playing with his or her hair. Not everyone likes to be touched during a panic attack though. Once again, it is a matter of finding what works for your spouse and responding to his or her specific needs.
Anxiety is a feeling we all face from time to time. Going in for a job interview, speaking in front of a class, walking into a crowded stadium – all of these situations can cause a person to feel jittery, nervous, and overwhelmed. How can you tell the difference between these feelings and an actual anxiety disorder? When do you know that you need help? To help you better understand your feelings, we’ve listed eight signs you need Michigan anxiety therapy. These should give you a good idea of whether or not professional help is the right step for you.
This is perhaps the most iconic separation between general anxiety and an anxiety disorder. With an anxiety disorder, the feeling of fear or worry will become overwhelming, to the point that it may interrupt daily activities. From insomnia to loss of appetite to an inability to go to work, the excessive worrying becomes an obstacle, not just a passive feeling. It is entirely normal to feel worried about a stressful event or situation, but that worry should not consume your life. If you feel like you can no longer escape the thoughts in your head, it may be time to talk to someone about anxiety treatment.
Do you have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep? That may have something to do with anxiety. There are many potential causes of sleep problems, from sleep apnea to depression and beyond. However, if you find yourself staying up late or tossing and turning because of specific thoughts or fears (financial stress, family conflicts, upcoming deadlines, etc.), you may have an anxiety disorder. This can also be said about people who struggle sleeping because their mind is constantly racing. Waking up in a panic is often a symptom of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
Stress and anxiety may start in the brain, but they can also trigger physical reactions. For some patients, this comes in the form of indigestion, diarrhea, nausea, constipation, or other digestive irregularities. In this case, the digestive troubles may worsen when the stress and anxiety worsen. If you have had stomach aches, cramping, gas, bloating, or any of the other symptoms mentioned above on a persistent basis, you may consider working with an anxiety therapist to get relief for your symptoms.
Flashbacks Or Triggered Memories
Experiencing flashbacks is a common result of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is a form of anxiety that develops after a traumatic incident, like being in combat or a car accident. Memories of the traumatic event may come flooding into your mind from a specific trigger, such as the sound of fireworks or seeing a similar event on television. For other people, PTSD flashbacks can come about any time the person feels stressed, overwhelmed or out of place. Whether you’re dealing with PTSD or some other form of anxiety, you can work with a therapists to conquer these flashbacks and prevent them from taking over your life.
Compulsive mindsets are common among anxiety disorders. Most people have heard of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), which can cause a person to undergo rituals or perform certain behaviors that may not always seem logical or necessary. For instance, a person may feel a compulsion to have every object on a table in a specific place, or he may feel the need to check the door lock multiple times before leaving the house. Not following through with these compulsions can lead to heavy anxiety, but the compulsions themselves can also start to take control over a person’s life.
To understand the difference between compulsions and habits, think about something that you do ritualistically. Would not following through with that ritual send you into a panic? For example, if you chose to turn the volume on 33 for your television but normally put it on an even number, would the fact that it stayed at 33 drive you crazy or just annoy you? If it’s the former, it may be time for you to speak with one of our anxiety counselors in Michigan.
If you have a social anxiety disorder, you may feel self-conscious when interacting with other people. This may happen in large crowds or small gatherings, especially if you do not know anyone in the room. A patient may become worried that people are staring at him or her, which could lead to blushing, sweating, shaking, or complete panic attacks. Whether your self-consciousness is due to anxiety or low self-esteem, the counselors here at Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers can work with you to overcome these feelings and feel confident in public.
Panic attacks are a surefire sign that you need Michigan anxiety therapy. These experiences can be downright terrifying, with symptoms similar to a heart attack. Shortness of breath, dizziness, racing thoughts, fast or heavy heartbeats – what you might feel if a bear was chasing after you in the woods. People who have panic attacks may go through these feelings once a month, once a week, or multiple times a day, depending on the severity of their anxiety.
The good news is that with anxiety therapy, you can discover the root causes and triggers of these panic attacks so you can avoid them in the future. You can also learn about warning signs of oncoming panic attacks so you can suppress them or get through them faster.
The Fact That You’re Reading This…
The fact that you’re reading this indicates that you have probably experienced some of the situations listed above. Even if your anxiety hasn’t been described here, you should talk to a counselor or therapist if it is starting to take control of your life. You do not have to feel trapped by anxious feelings. With the right tools and techniques, you can get through difficult situations and enjoy a much better quality of life. Contact Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers today at (248) 244-8644 to schedule an appointment with one of our anxiety therapists in Michigan.
Anxiety disorder comes in many forms, which is why it may go undiagnosed for a long time. An array of symptoms can all be classified as “anxiety,” even though they may not be labeled as “anxiety disorder.” Here at our Michigan counseling centers, we treat several types of anxiety disorders through counseling and therapy. Listed below are some of the most common forms of anxiety, along with the symptoms you might experience in each of them.
NOTE: You can get anxiety treatment for ANY of the anxiety disorders listed below. You don’t have to fight your feelings alone. Contact Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers at (248) 244-8644 to schedule an appointment with our anxiety therapists in Michigan.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder is a condition characterized by consistent anxiety on a day to day basis. GAD may take on the symptoms of multiple types of anxiety disorder listed below. For instance, a person with GAD may feel anxious when in large crowds, when faced with multiple tasks to complete at once, when asked too many questions, when spoken to in a rapid manner, etc. The anxiety is more intense than what would be considered “normal anxiety,” to the point that it interferes with the person’s life, activities and relationships.
Social anxiety, also known as social phobia, involves a fear of being in public or completing certain tasks in public. The most common form of social anxiety is agoraphobia, or a fear of crowds. In this case, a person will feel claustrophobic and overwhelmed when in large groups of people, like in a packed movie theater or restaurant. Other forms of social anxiety include public speaking, eating in public, speaking to people at work, or interacting in unfamiliar social environments (a party). Social anxiety can also relate to posting information online through social media, though that is typically a way for people with social anxiety to maintain communication with their friends and family members.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder covers a wide range of behaviors and rituals. As a whole, this condition is marked by the need to complete tasks in a specific order or a specific number of times. For example, a person with OCD may have a compulsion to wash his or her hands three times before eating and three times after eating. This person may turn the light off and on five times before leaving the house and check the door six times to see if it is locked.
Many of these rituals may seem odd or unwarranted, but they reduce feelings of anxiety. A person with OCD may feel that bad consequences may come from not completing the ritual, even if there are no prior experiences to indicate that would happen. Most people associate OCD with cleanliness, but the compulsions do not always manifest themselves through cleaning.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is one of the most common forms of anxiety. It can result from any traumatic experience, from being in combat to witnessing a fatal car accident. People with PTSD may have flashbacks of the traumatic event, or they may have nightmares related to it. This makes it difficult for them to relax because they are constantly trying to avoid those bad memories. PTSD episodes may be triggered by specific situations (fireworks sounding like gun shots), or they may come about when the person feels stressed in general (thinking about bills or responsibilities).
Panic disorder occurs when a person goes through persistent panic attacks. Panic attacks usually involve shortness of breath, dizziness, sweating, racing thoughts, chest pain, and increased heartbeat. The person experiencing the panic attack may feel like he or she is having a heart attack because the symptoms come on so suddenly. The fear of having a panic attack may spark another panic attack, and the cycle continues from there. When the attacks or fear of attacks happen consistently for one month or more, a person is considered to have panic disorder.
Phobias are types of anxiety triggered by specific fears. For instance, someone with claustrophobia gets anxiety from being in tight spaces (elevators, crowded rooms, small hallways, etc.). Someone with arachnophobia has a fear of spiders. While many people are able to deal with their phobias on a daily basis, some have phobias strong enough to prevent them from completing basic functions. A person who fears driving may have a difficult time getting around, and a person who fears crowds may not be able to work in a field with heavy foot traffic. Through anxiety counseling, you can learn to overcome these fears and make the anxious feelings subside so you can get through the day with greater ease.
How To Get Anxiety Treatment In Michigan
If you or someone you know has one of the anxiety disorders above, there is help available to you. With more than 30 therapists, psychiatrists and counselors on staff, Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers in Metro Detroit, MI offers counseling solutions for nearly every obstacle you may encounter. Our anxiety therapists are here to help you discover the root causes of your anxiety and learn ways to combat anxious feelings in the future. We also offer depression therapy, family and marriage counseling, psychological testing, and much more. Contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our mental health experts, and we will be more than happy to assist you.
Dealing with anxiety is difficult, not only for the person experiencing the anxiety, but also for friends and family members who wish to help. It can be especially challenging if you have never experienced those emotions yourself. Whether you’ve recently befriended someone with anxiety or you want to improve your relationship with a loved one, the tips below will help you communicate and understand the person better in the long run. Read on to learn how to help a friend with anxiety.
Understand The Physics Of Panic Attacks
Anxiety is more than just a state of mind. A true panic attack comes with a slew of physical reactions in addition to the emotions a person will go through. If your friend is experiencing an anxiety attack, he or she may feel like it’s a heart attack – rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath or quick breathing, tunnel vision, etc. These feelings make the emotional side of anxiety even worse. Do not assume that your friend is overreacting when he or she experiences severe anxiety. There may be bodily changes going on that you cannot see but he or she can feel intensely.
Helping Doesn’t Mean You Have To “Fix” Anything
Do not get in the mindset that you have to fix your friend’s anxiety. This sends a couple different messages. For one, it suggests that there is something to fix in the first place – that being anxious is a bad thing. In all actuality, anxiety is a natural emotion that most people experience in one way or another. It’s your mind’s response to unfamiliar situations. The goal is not to get rid of the anxiety, but rather control how much it affects your friend’s life. This is best accomplished through anxiety therapy with a professional counselor.
Another factor to keep in mind is that the desire to “fix” the anxiety may cause your friend to shut down. He or she may feel worried about your reaction, rather than opening up to you about what he or she is going through. Do your best to be a shoulder to cry on, a sounding board for a friend in need. Push aside any judgment or preconceived notions you may have, and try to understand your friend’s experiences as much as possible.
Avoid Offering Advice
This ties into the idea of not trying to fix the situation. Avoid giving advice if possible, even if the advice has good intention. If you provide good advice, your friend will not learn how to handle his emotions on his own. He will look to you for guidance in difficult situations moving forward, and you may not be the best source of advice in each circumstance. If the advice you provide creates negative results, your friend may blame you for the issues instead of accepting responsibility for his actions.
If your friend chooses to get help from an anxiety counselor, he or she will learn exactly what to do to overcome anxiety and deal with various situations as they come about. The therapists here at Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers specialize in helping people with anxiety and depression. They have the knowledge and tools necessary to guide your friend through this moment in his or her life. Listen as much as possible, but limit the advice you give as much as possible.
Keep The Focus On Your Friend – Not You
During your conversations, you may think about similar experiences that you have had that make you relate to what your friend is going through. There is nothing wrong with sharing those experiences, but try to keep your stories brief and concise. If you talk about yourself for a large portion of the time, your friend may feel like you’re trying to make the conversation about you, thereby defeating the purpose of talking through an anxious experience. Let your friend control the conversation, and be careful about when you add in personal anecdotes.
Learn About Your Friend’s Anxiety Triggers
What situations make your friend feel anxious? Going to a crowded restaurant, talking to new people, being left alone, being asked too many questions – the list is never ending. By understanding what triggers your friend’s anxiety, you can avoid situations that heighten the emotions. For instance, if your friend has a fear of crowds, you may find out when the least busy times are for your local movie theater. Then you can choose to go see movies together when there are minimal people in the building. If your friend does not know what his or her triggers are, you may need to pick up on them by being passively observant.
To learn more about anxiety therapy in Metro Detroit, contact Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers at (248) 244-8644.
Anxiety attacks and panic attacks often go hand in hand. The symptoms are almost exactly the same, and they both can come out of nowhere. Most panic attacks last approximately 10 minutes, and many people experience at least one of these a week or more. If you have ever experienced an attack like this, you most likely felt like you were having a heart attack – like you had absolutely no control over your body. Our goal in this guide is to reduce those feelings as much as possible so you can breathe easy once again.
Here are some tips for how to calm down during an anxiety attack.
Acknowledge The Fact That You’re Having A Panic Attack
Because of the “panic” that comes along with an anxiety attack, it’s natural to want to fight back against it. You may think that by ignoring the problem, it will just go away. That doesn’t work. As difficult as it may be to do, acknowledge that you’re having an anxiety attack when symptoms start to occur. This will make it easier for you to evaluate what’s going on and eventually calm yourself down.
Bonus: Telling yourself that you’re having a panic attack will erase the fear that something worse may be going on, like a heart attack or stroke. These feelings can make an anxiety attack much more intense and harder to overcome.
Talk Yourself Through The Attack
You are the only person inside your head during an anxiety attack. Even if there are other people in the room, chances are you will be deaf to what’s going on everywhere else. Use this time to talk yourself through the attack. Tell yourself that this is only temporary, that you will get through it, and you will not have to go to the hospital. Ease your worries before they even become worries. If you’ve had panic attacks in the past, you’ll have a better idea of what goes on in your head during one. Try to negate all of those thoughts right away, and continue to remind yourself that you WILL overcome this.
Focus On Your Breathing
During an anxiety attack, you’re liable to experience shortness of breath. This feeling can be intensified if you take a series of short breaths, which is what you will instinctively want to do. Instead, try to focus on your breathing. Breathe from deep within your belly, making your stomach go up and down as you inhale and exhale. This will slow your heart and it will keep your mind from wandering elsewhere, which will all lead to a shortened panic attack.
Relax Stiffened Parts Of Your Body
Another common experience during an anxiety attack is body stiffness. You may feel yourself clench your fists or extend your legs to the point that you cause yourself pain. Once your breathing has slowed down to a point that it seems manageable, do an evaluation of your body. If you notice any tense areas, try to relax those body parts so you can start to feel more relaxed overall.
Stay Where You Are
You will be very tempted to remove yourself from a stressful situation, thinking that will relieve your anxiety. Don’t. This is very tough to do at first, but it’s important for you to stay exactly where you are, right in the midst of the anxiety. Why? Because this allows you to assess matters after the attack and see that perhaps they weren’t as bad as you thought they were. If the crowd is still too much for you to handle or you feel yourself slipping back into a panic attack, then you can choose to leave. You just have to give yourself a chance to evaluate what’s going on after the anxiety attack to prevent another one from happening in the future.
Work With An Anxiety Counselor To Tackle The Root Of The Problem
Even though anxiety attacks feel like they are coming from nowhere, they often stem from deep-seeded emotions or memories that you need to work through. With the help of anxiety counseling, you can figure out what the root cause of your anxiety is and work on ways to overcome it. Over time, you will experience fewer and fewer anxiety attacks, and perhaps one day in the future, you won’t have any at all.
Bad feelings often spawn from distorted thinking – viewing a situation in a way that is slightly skewed from reality. By thinking about a situation in a distorted way, you effectively change the way you feel about that situation and the people involved with it. Once you can recognize these thoughts, you can work on reversing them, which will hopefully make you feel better in the future. Let’s take a closer look at how distorted thinking leads to depression and anxiety and how that affects depression therapy.
Types Of Distorted Thinking
The term “distorted thinking” covers a broad range of thoughts that you may go through when something or someone upsets you. These can be categorized in the following way:
- Overgeneralization – Assuming that a negative event is going to lead to a series of negative events that get progressively worse over time
- Minimization – Diminishing the importance of an event
- Magnification – Turning something small into something much bigger
- Fortune Telling – Predicting that something will go wrong without evidence to support the prediction
- Mind Reading – Making assumptions about what people are thinking without actually knowing what they’re thinking
- Ignoring The Positives – Disregarding your accomplishments or positive personal qualities
- Filtering – Ignoring the positives and hyper-focusing on the negatives in a situation
- All-Or-Nothing – Creating absolutes in a scenario, black and white with no shades of grey
- Emotional Reasoning – Turning emotions into supposed facts, “I feel crazy so I must be crazy.”
- Hypothetical Statements – Criticizing yourself with things you “should” or “should not” do
- Blame – Blaming yourself for situations that are not entirely your fault, or casting blame on everyone but yourself in a situation you contributed to
- Labeling – Putting a label on yourself instead of assessing the situation as a whole: “I’m an idiot” vs. “I made a mistake”
Are you guilty of any of those thought patterns? We all are at one point or another. The trick is to recognize those thought patterns as they happen and turn your negative thoughts into positive ones. That is one method of depression therapy that is extremely effective for some patients.
Recognizing Distorted Thoughts: An Exercise
It’s very difficult to recognize and analyze distorted thinking in the moment. This is something you will learn to do over time, but first you must be able to identify distorted thoughts as a whole. Let’s start with a hypothetical situation, and then we will turn our attention to events from your own life.
Linda is a single mother of three who just got laid off from a large company that was downsizing. The news came suddenly, and Linda was forced to leave the workplace in less than a week. Her immediate thoughts were: “I’m never going to get another job. I won’t be able to support my family. My children will be so disappointed in me.”
Within those three sentences, Linda is already exemplifying several forms of distorted thinking. By saying she will never get another job, she is fortune telling (predicting the future without evidence) and overgeneralizing (saying that this event will lead to much worse ones later on). The same could be said about the fact that she won’t be able to support her family – this is a temporary problem, not a permanent one. She is also jumping to conclusions by assuming her children will be disappointed in her. In all actuality, they may feel sorry for their hard-working mom and want to help her get a new job as quickly as possible.
An Event From Your Past
Let’s apply the analysis above to an event from your past. Think of a situation in which you felt anxious or depressed, more so than usual. Perhaps you got laid off like Linda, or maybe a long-term relationship ended. You might have gotten into a fight with a close friend or turned a small misunderstanding into a big argument. Write down some of the thoughts that were racing through your head at the time – even if you don’t feel that way anymore. Then take a moment to identify forms of distorted thinking within each of the statements you write down.
Overcoming Distorted Thinking Through Depression Counseling
Just by understanding that you have moments of distorted thinking, you are already taking a big step in overcoming anxiety and depression. Your thoughts impact the way you feel. The sooner you can take control of them, the sooner you can reach a better quality of life. The best way to do this is to work with a depression counselor who can go over your thought process in detail and help you figure out ways to break free from it in the moment. The perfect solution for you may be entirely different than the perfect solution for someone else. Your depression therapist can work with you to build a path of happiness designed just for you.
Contact Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers at (248) 244-8644 to schedule an appointment with one of our depression counselors and therapists.