According to the father of cognitive psychology, Aaron Beck, Ph.D., when examining our thoughts, one common way to understand what is increasing our anxiety or depression is to look at three important areas and they include the following:
(1) Self: Our view of ourselves can give us insight into our self-esteem, identity, and self-image. Self-esteem is directly related to depressive symptoms and understanding the way we view our selves can can help us develop a clear picture of which self-directed thoughts we need to better manage to improve our self-esteem and self-worth
(2) World: Our view of the world can impact our anxiety and depression. If a person sees the world as dangerous and broken, he of she may experience increased levels of anxiety and depression. If a person sees the world as an endless source of adventures they may feel excited and curious. Take a close look at your thoughts about the world to see if you are inadvertently increasing distress.
(3) Future: Our view of the future impacts our anxiety and even our anticipatory grief for difficulties ahead. It is important to stay in the present moment and to learn to change your future oriented fears into more positive and healthy thoughts.
Try managing your thoughts by breaking them down into these three categories. When your thoughts are catastrophic or just excessively negative, try repairing the thoughts by coming up healthier, more positive ones.
- Cognitive Triad
- Pain and its Gifts
- My Mind Doesn’t Matter
- “To Thine Own Self Be True”: The Pain and Enlightenment of Authenticity