How To Train Your Mind To Think Objectively In The Midst Of Paranoia, Anxiety, or Depression!
It is well known that perception is a very important part of life. It gives us the ability to see things as they really are. Many people's perception is twisted. Mental perception, is the term in which I describe how our mental health affects our perception. I'm talking about how most people see the world in the same light. They for example, see the beauty in nature, they generally wake up feeling good and not depressed, they understand one another in conversation without totally twisting or misunderstanding everything that is said. Those general feelings and abilities and perception of most people is the same.
It is very important for people in general to communicate effectively and not assume or be misleading with othersto lead happier lives. My hope here is to demonstrate specifically to those who experience paranoia or depression, a better way to see things. The following will be an example created by me, in order to prove that we can think more positively by using our own cognitive skills.
Things---are always the same. It's our mood or perception that makes them seem different
When someone feels mentally healthy, what do they see? For example--things are always the same. It's HOW we view them, which tells us if we are thinking wrongly or rightly. For example, you could have a room of people all sitting down in a doctor's office and most of them see: A healthy green plant in the corner, the brightness of the light in the room, how many chairs are in the sitting area, the smiling baby cooing to its mother, the happy kids boisterously playing in the corner and making a bit of loud chatter, the old man with his cane who is old and fragile who has an expression of pain on his face because he is (in pain) and waiting to see the doctor. These are established, the things all people there are supposed to see.
But what if you are feeling depressed or anxious or even paranoid? How will you possibly perceive these things? And will you realize you are perceiving incorrectly? Also, if you realize it, can you control it and to what degree? If you don't notice it then what? Are you AWARE? How can you overcome these misconceptions in the future?
Let's play the possible scenario of which a paranoid person---who may be just having a bad day--may see the situation. Let's restate the scenario, and imagine it as someone paranoid may see it:
A paranoid person, may walk into the room and sit down, and feel like people are watching them. They may get uneasy and anxious. This could lead to them seeing things in a depressing way, not noticing the pretty plant, or the nice brightness in the room. The baby cooing may annoy them or may make them nervous. The kids making noise may make them really angry, they may think the expression of pain on the old man's face has something to do with them personally. They may possibly in fact, think he's grimacing "at them".
Obviously, these would be very uncomfortable feelings to have, wouldn't they? If a person who occassionally gets paranoid due to stress, not being on the best medication who suffers from depression, anxiety, bipolar, etc, this would be a very bad day. Are there ways to try to stop it from happening in the future? Or are there ways to be AWARE that it's happening and develop coping skills, to lessen the blow. This is what I'm talking about. How to improve our perception. It can be done over time with medication and therapy and your life and good mental health can definitely improve. BUT it takes the right medicine --providing you need medicine-- and lots of hard work & therapy.
What Can One Do About This??
First off, if you realize you are wrong when feeling these emotions, or thoughts, that's step one. Many people like I say with a mental illness of whatever sort, only occassionally feel these things. So, if you are aware, this is the first step.
Learn how to stop thinking this way. This is difficult, because when one is in the depths of depression, or having a full blown anxiety attack, which can lead to paranoid thinking, it's very hard to ground yourself. You must know this. If you are feeling that badly, I suggest to stay in a supportive environment. It's bad enough to feel that way in the first place, than to put yourself into a more stressful environment where you will have to deal with potentially difficult situations which may result in getting angry or feeling even more anxious.
But, when you are having smaller amounts of anxiety or depression, you certainly need to function. You NEED to get out in the world for isolation is not healthy. You need to go to the doctor, go to your job, do your grocery shopping, etc. But how will you calm yourself?
The more times you experience good days, the better it will be to remember them and remind yourself THIS IS ONLY TEMPORARY. There are therapies like DBT or CBT. And of course your therapist can get to the bottom of your anxieties.
Things to tell yourself when in the midst of paranoia
- This is temporary.
- This is not reality
- I must keep my cool
- Try DEEP BREATHING
- I must TELL MYSELF "The old man is in pain- It's not about me. Not everything is about me!!"
- Remind myself to look at nature and trees and notice the simple things in life like water flowing, or the smell of flowers. Concentrate on those simple physical aspects in the room. Use your senses and feel the chair you're sitting on, feel your feet on the floor, stay in the present moment.
- Find a way to relax: concentrate on reading a book, or calling someone on the phone.
- Tell yourself how sweet that little baby looks, notice the man in pain, and say hello to him, comfort him; thinking of others makes you feel less worried about yourself!!
- Be aware of your surroundings: notice the layout of the room, how many people are there, and who is at the desk. (If you feel okay doing that.) (Do this to keep the focus off yourself.)
- Try not to let little things bother you like the noisy kids. Tell yourself, "I was once a kid too. It's okay that they are playing. I can let my annoyance go." Take a deep breath and release it.
These are some basic skills you will learn over time. Yes, they are very basic but very helpful and real and it's important to you to feel good. The more often you feel good, the better your recovery.
I hope you enjoyed this article, and please let me know by leaving feedback and voting up and pressing useful, etc. I would like to know if it was useful, so I can write more on it. Thankyou! :)
Source: personal expertise and reading Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Wookbook.