A sculpture of a head in a renaissance style with a modern digital hand under the chin resting on one finger to depict thought or thinking.

Another way of thinking...

Sometimes it's difficult to decide whether we are just feeling a normal level of sadness, anxiety or fear and when it's something more serious. It can be scary and confusing to experience feelings that might be clinical anxiety or depression, and hard to know what to do if we decide we are unwell right now and need some support. The good news is that as well as help from doctors and therapists, there are things that you can learn to do yourself to start managing these difficult experiences.

Have you ever taken a step back to examine or "listen to" your own thought patterns? Without meaning to, we can become our own worst enemies, contributing to our unhappy feelings by looking at the world through what I call "unhelpful lenses". Suppose you see an acquaintance on the other side of the street and wave hello, but she doesn't return your wave. If we're in a good, happy place we might think to ourselves, "Oh, she obviously didn't see me, I'll catch her next time." But if we are feeling low or anxious, we might find ourselves looking at the incident through our unhelpful lenses. Everything we see through those lenses makes us feel worse about ourselves, so we might think instead, "Huh, she just ignored me. I must've done something to upset her." Same incident, two very different ways of responding - note that you don't have any evidence that she saw you, but if you're not at your best, it might "feel" true. You might even spend the rest of the day feeling aggrieved or worrying about what you could have done to have upset your friend.

With help and practice, we can learn to spot when we are putting our unhelpful lenses on, notice what they are telling us, and begin to take their conclusions with a pinch of salt. Our course on CBT for Anxiety, Depression and Phobias, can help you to begin to understand the difference between normal emotions and something more serious, and teaches the basics of Cognitive Behavioural Theory to help you recognise and challenge those unhelpful lenses. With a warm, supportive style it will take you on a journey to managing your symptoms by managing your thoughts. Why not take the first step and see for yourself?


Charlotte Walker

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