Went back to the MIND 4 week course tonight. It improved a little.
We watched a video about Automatic Thoughts, which was pretty informative. The session today was only 35 minutes long once you took the ten minute break out and the woman still mostly read off the slides but there was a bit more improvisation and anecdotes this time – which I think is what helps us to relate to situations and remember things. My bigger issue with the course might be how fast it is, there is no time to go into things deeper, or nothing is every explained in greater detail or explored, you can go straight from watching a video about Automatic Thoughts, to talking about Anger.
I will also remind you that we do not speak in these sessions, we just sit and watch a presentation then go home.
The aim of the session was about how we think of ourselves and how this has a massive effect on how we feel. This session was going to look into cognitive techniques from CBT, though it more just touched and introduced us to them, than practising and reinforcing them.
I suffer heavily from dissonance – the act of holding two conflicting beliefs in one moment, which I think is quite common in people with severe mental/anxiety problems. In each of us there are two conflicting voices involved in stress too: our common sense voice and our stressed voice. The method they taught us in class was:
- Stand back
- Pull back the blinkers
- wait a minute
- then challenge using the big 5
The big five being:
- what are the chances
- what is the worst thing
- am I right to think that
- the five year rule
- what is this worth
Now these all make sense to me but the last three are the most effective for me. They are a shocking guilt trip and a massive reality check that hurts me, but brings me back down to solid ground. I also used to do something similar when I was at university and I would get certain clients who gave me anxiety attacks if I saw their names pop up in my inbox, what I would do is not open the message until I had gotten over my attack, had some time away from the computer, a good amount of time had passed and then when I felt secure and able to read and and respond I would.
The work book goes over something called 12 Negative thinking styles:
- Mental Filter – This is when we only seem to notice the bad things, and filter out the good. We should ask “Am I the only one noticing the bad stuff? Am I ignoring the positives?”
- Mind Reading – Assuming we know what other people think of us.Mountain
- Prediction – Believing we know what s going to happen in the future. This can also be similar to self fulfilling prophecy. I often “predict” what is already happening in places that I am absent and so far have not been wrong, but the motivation for the prediction is negative.
- Compare and Despair – Very powerfully done with social media this is where we only see the good and positive in others and the negative in ourselves, making our self worth and confidence much harder to overcome.
- Critical Self – Putting yourself down, self criticism and blaming yourself for things that are not your responsibility or fault.
- Shoulds and Musts – Whenever we say we must or should do something, we are putting pressure on ourselves and setting up unrealistic expectations.
- Catastrophising – Imagining and believing the worst possible outcome will happen.
- Emotional Reasoning – “I feel so bad, so it must be bad” Often common with paranoia and convincing yourself that a dangerous situation exists and there for rationalising your anxiety to be normal and acceptable.
- Mountains and Mole Hills – This is a really well known phrase and if you dont know it then for shame. But basically, you over react and make a small issue into a very very big problem or you downsize big problems into nothing at all.
- Evaluations and Judgements – This is a very common “normal people” issue as well as a mental health problem. This is when we base our opinions, form judgements and salutations on other people, events, ourselves and the world rather than using what evidence we actually have for them.
- Black and White Thinking – believing that something or someone can only be good or bad, right or wrong rather than flexible. This can also be heavily applied to events, belief and relationships.
- Memories – Current situations or events can trigger upsetting memories, leading us to believe that the danger is here and now rather than in the past, causing us distress right now.
I believe I am prone and have definitely partaken in all of these quite heavily, but being aware of them makes it easier to fight against them and I can honestly say that though we are brought up in a society where certain ways of thinking are considered normal (monogamy for example) that doesn’t mean we are reinforcing good ideals, but rather enforcing limited ways of thinking that encourage cognitive dissonance when we try to live up to societies expectations.
Below is the only example of the ABC model I could find online that was close enough to what I have in my work booklet. But by researching the ABC model, I found out about REBT (Which I am going to research into later).
So an example of the ABC thinking model is if a college argues with your idea in a meeting, that makes us jump to thinking we are stupid and worthless, which causes us to resent the colleague and staying silent in future meetings. The session never really went into this, so not sure what I can write about this process other than what is in my work book.
I was very naughty and didn’t finish this post on the night of the session…but rather the morning of the 3rd session. So in reflection of this 2nd week and what I learned, throughout the week I have found myself remembering the term “automatic thoughts” and just knowing that such a phrase and definition exists helps me stop them before they get out of hand. This week has been a vast improvement on the last, and I have only had one bad time, but it wasn’t hysterical or dangerous, just numb and glum.