Have you noticed that when you’re not feeling positive, you stop noticing? Most likely not.
I remember coming out of a phase of depression some years ago and being surprised at hearing birds flying overhead in Leeds city centre. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d heard them, and it’s because I’d stopped noticing. I’d started to delete elements of my surroundings and developed tunnel vision.
When I heard those birds, I knew I was waking up again and it was time to notice things, REALLY notice them.
So since it’s Mental Health Awareness Week, here are my top 5 tips for positivity and what they can do for us. They’re listed in no particular order, so you can prioritise for yourself.
In my last post, The Stories We Tell Ourselves, I gave you a general overview of cognitive distortions, or, as I like to call it, how we like to chat shit to ourselves (OMG, I’m so professional, I swear I’m qualified. Look, you can trust me with your mental health, honest). In this post, I want to go into a bit more detail about the types of cognitives distortions we may experience and that hold us back from allowing us to enjoy life as much as we can. There may be one thing that stops us, just puts the brakes on a happy life, and we know what it is, but we refuse to stop the behaviour that causes it because our faulty thinking tells us that behaviour is more important than anything else.
Once upon a time, there was a loser called Paula, who could never be trusted to do anything right, who was a failure at everything, and who would never achieve anything any good. I would live with my parents forever, probably gain 500lbs and they would have to take care of me and no one would love me. Ugh. Pretty catastrophic sounding picture, huh? That’s around the time when I was genuinely felt friendless and alone, slept about 20 hours a day, and I was 17 and diagnosed with clinical depression. So now, let’s fast forward 30 odd years later.
Seriously, it is. And I do mean you should be happy. Remember that time in school when you called the teacher “mum”? Or that time you said goodbye to a friend in the street and realised you were both going the same way, and walked along in awkward silence? How often have you lain awake at night, torturing yourself over moments like those, that were like, a million years ago? (more…)