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Buh-bye, bad mood!

 
Feeling blue? Try psychology’s latest technique on for size. Cognitive therapy can help you think yourself out of a bad mood, no chocolate or shopping sprees necessary. Let’s turn that frown upside down!

 

From negative to positive

We all have Debby Downer moments. You know, when it’s pouring down rain and you can’t help but dwell on your cancelled soccer game instead of your so-cute new rainboots. Focusing on the negative can bring your entire day down, so instead, do your best to turn a bad sitch into a fun scenario. Remember, every cloud has a silver lining.

 

Thinking bad thoughts?

We often fall into a trap of thinking what psychologists call “automatic thoughts.” These thoughts always seem to pop into our head, nearly subconscious and typically negative comments that color everything we do. They include…

 

Magnification – Seeing negative things as something bigger than they are.  You get a less-than-stellar grade on a project, and think “My grades are down the trash.” 

 

Labeling – Attributing a negative word to yourself.  You stumble over your words when talking to your crush, and think “I looked like a fool.” 

 

Jumping to Conclusions – Assuming you know what is going to happen in the future or that you know what someone is thinking (when really, you never can).  You get in a fight with a friend, and you think “Now she’s going to hate me forever!” 

 

Should Statements – Telling yourself you “should” or “shouldn’t” do something.  You want to be healthy, so you tell yourself “I shouldn’t eat any junk food.”  Then when you have cookies at a sleepover, you feel guilty. 

 

Disqualifying the Positive – Having a positive experience and taking away its goodness. Someone compliments your dress at the dance, and you think, “Oh, she was just being nice.  Hers is way better anyway.” 

 

 

The next time an automatic thought comes to mind, puncture it’s thorny little bubble by turning that negative into a positive. A helpful way to do that is to question it.  You know how in that Selena Gomez song, she says “Who says?  Who says you’re not perfect?”  It’s kinda like that – in fact, “Who says?” is a great one to start with

 

Talk back

Now it’s time to come up with a response to your bad thoughts. The next time you come up with an automatic thought that’s negative, toss it to the side with a revision. For instance, if you struck out playing softball when you usually never even step up to the plate, instead of reprimanding yourself for looking like a fool, congratulate yourself for giving it a shot. You go girl!
 
 

BY MARIE HANSEN AND BRITTANY TAYLOR ON 7/23/2011 12:00:00 AM

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