Tuesday, May 01, 2007


In the summer of '93, I was unhappy, quite unhappy. Though I had friends, I was depressed. I just couldn't get my mojo back, so I talked to my mom who suggested seeing a counselor. I set up an appointment and saw someone at the Hiawatha Valley Mental Health Center.

I talked about my problems, about my feelings. I was also put on some "mood enhancers". The therapist said it would take several weeks for them to take effect. In the meantime, she suggested I work on my self-talk (the things I think to myself). She encouraged me to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. I found a book that was extremely helpful in this regard at the Little Professor Book Store in the Winona Mall.

The following is an excerpt from the book:

"The first principle of cognitive therapy is that all your moods are created by your "cognitions," or thoughts. A cognition refers to the way you look at things--your perceptions, mental attitudes, and beliefs. It includes the way you interpret things--what you say. about something or someone to yourself. You feel the way you do right now because of the thoughts you are thinking at this moment.

Let me illustrate this. How have you been feeling as you read this? You might have been thinking, "Cognitive therapy sounds too good to be true. It would never work for me." If your thoughts run along these lines, you are feeling skeptical or even discouraged. What causes you to feel that way? Your thoughts. You create those feelings by the dialogue you are having with yourself about this book!

Conversely, you may have felt a sudden uplift in mood because you thought, "Hey, this sounds like something which might finally help me." Your emotional reaction is generated not by the sentences you are reading but by the way you are thinking. The moment you have a certain thought and believe it, you will experience an immediate emotional response. Your thought actually creates the emotion."

One of the most memorable passages of the book involves how to proceed when you don't "feel" like doing something. It suggests that instead of waiting until you feel like doing something, to just go do it. Usually after a few minutes of doing it, the motivation (which you didn't feel before) will magically appear.

There was another book that I purchased a few months later which was also extremely helpful. I will give you the scoop on it next week.


the108 said...

I enjoy therapy a great deal and I'm just fascinated with anything "psychological".

Mags said...

I'm all for positive thinking and tricking yourself into being happy. I've found though that unfortunatly it's hard to do that if your brains chemicals just don't want to give in.

So...that's why happy pills help sometimes. 8)

But also...how do you think happy thoughts when all of the hot men live in MN and you live in CT?

I've been wrestling with this for quite some time now. ;)

Thomas said...

Kyra, Dori is also quite fascinated with all things psych (not least because she has gone through a few issues of that nature herself).

Mags, I don't get much therapy myself these days. The happy pills are really all I need (well, along with a good woman by my side). As far as you living in CT and all the hot men living in MN, well, fact is Rocket is leaving the land of 1,000,000 lakes in the next couple months and (full disclosure) Brian goes to a secret salon once a month to get his "butt cleaned".