Depression and Overthinking
This is the second in a series of blogs about depression. Last week’s blog looked at the Iink between depression and sleep and this blogs looks at depression and overthinking.
I often hear my clients say “I overthink everything” and I think we all know exactly what they mean by this. We live our lives up in our heads and sometimes forget we have a body at all! Stopping overthinking is difficult because it’s something we do unconsciously – and are very used to doing. If we stop for a moment, mid-thought, we can see that many of our thoughts are not at all useful – it’s all very well if we are using our brains to work on finding solutions to real life problems, but more often than not, we just go round and round and round with the same old repetitive thoughts that get us nowhere, except to make us feel even worse!
Types of thinking
It can be really helpful to step back when you find you are overthinking and see if you are falling into any of the following types of thinking, as all these have been shown to be closely linked with our mood – they do us no good whatsoever!
1. All-or-nothing thinking: We look at things in absolute, black-and-white categories.. “I feel fantastic today” or “I feel absolutely terrible”.
2. Overgeneralisation: We view a negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat. “It will ALWAYS be like this.”
3. Mental filter: We dwell on the negatives and ignore the positives.
4. Discounting the positives: We insist that our accomplishments or positive qualities don’t count
5. Jumping to conclusions: We conclude things are bad without any definite evidence. These include mind-reading (assuming that people are reacting negatively to us) and fortune-telling (predicting that things will turn out badly).
6. Magnification or minimisation: We blow things way out of proportion or we shrink their importance.
7. Emotional reasoning: We reason from how we feel: “I feel like an idiot, so I must be one.”
8. “Should” statements: We criticise ourselves or other people with “shoulds,” “shouldn’ts,” “musts,” “oughts,” and “have-tos.”
9. Labelling: Instead of saying, “I made a mistake,” we tell ourselves “I’m a complete loser”.
10. Blame: We blame ourselves for something we weren’t entirely responsible for, or we blame other people and overlook ways that we contributed to a problem.
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Need some advice and support?
If you are struggling with Depression and would like to talk it over in complete confidentiality, call Alison Winfield, Mindfully Well Counselling Cork on 087 9934541.