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Mental Practice Column

Positive Thinking & Seeking Support to Overcome Distress

Political Warfare Bureau,M.N.D.PostDate: 2017/05/01

Positive Thinking & Seeking Support to Overcome Distress

 (Zhuang, Yu-Ling, psychological counselor, Central Mental Health Center, Ministry of National Defense)


When you see a half-full glass, what comes to your mind? People in an optimistic state will say, Wow, there is still half of it, how nice!  People in a pessimistic state will say, Alas, there is only half of it left.  What will I do if I drink it all?  Same objective fact, yet, there are two completely different thoughts.  Sometimes lives are just like this.  When facing the same event or under similar pressure, different thoughts produce different results.   Of course, there are no right or wrong thoughts in themselves, but if you keep having negative thoughts, you will inevitably feel powerless toward a lot of things. Especially, when hope seems to be fading away, our ability to adjust to dsaily life is affected.  I notice that my patients with depressive disorder are usually trapped in negative thoughts about themselves, the world and the future.  Some are so depressed that they even have the tendency to commit suicide.

Cognitive therapist Beck identifies the core of depression: the unique error to the content and form of depressive thinking, both have negative distorted cognition like strong negative self-concept, being pessimistic about the future and considering life in the context of frustration as well as a perception of not being able to be rewarded.  His hypothesis is People's emotions and behaviors are affected by how they perceive certain events, not the context.  Imagine that if you see things through tinted glass, whatever you see is affected by the tint.  Only when you remove the glass or understand that you are seeing things through tinted glass will you be able to reduce the effects of negative thinking.

 Following are some methods to help people change how they perceive things by applying the principles of cognitive therapy.  (A)To identify our own emotions: to understand what is really on our mind, we need to discover our emotions and accept the fact that we have negative emotions.  Actually, negative emotions are a kind of energy.  If we keep on denying it, we will end up suppressing the pressure which will have a bad influence on our mental and physical health.  Like Jung once said, I'd rather be a whole person than a good person.  Having the courage to identify and accept your own emotions is your top priority. (B) To record our thoughts: when you notice that you have more emotional reaction to s certain event, you should immediately write down the context of it, your emotions around it and write down what was on your mind at that moment  Then, you may further write down how much credit you give your thoughts and discuss them with your friends.  Through objective records, you will be able to better understand the relation between your thoughts and your emotional reactions. (C) To use response cards: when you have the thought of I can not do it, try to write down the appropriate response, such as a successful experience in the past, imagining the worst situation, and a concrete strategy that helps you respond properly.  Once you have the cards ready, carry them with you.  When you find yourself having negative thoughts, use them to remind yourself how to think positively.  As long as there are chances for alternative ways of viewing a situation, there are chances of achieving successful results.

Imagine that you are on a bus: by sitting on different seats, you see different scenery. It is the same when people are facing difficulties in life: by changing a seat and their thoughts, they will have new discoveries and perceptions.  In the meantime, don


't forget to seek support and company from your partners and together overcome various difficulties at various stages of life.

Last Updated: 2018/3/22  PageView: 1295
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