Monday, November 14, 2016
Mzny of the clients in my psychology practice are upset by current political developments, and calls to crisis hotlines have multiplied. This is a You Tube audio of a letter from the Greek philosopher Seneca to one of his dear friends on the subject of groundless fears. He would be right at home with cognitive behavioral psychology;"We suffer more in imagination than in reality," and then goes on to speak of the remedies of this condition. He's a bit brainy, but what would you expect from a Greek philosopher? However, his words have stood the test of time, and are especially true in today's conditions of post-election stress.
Friday, November 11, 2016
Most of us have one or more habits of perceiving things which make them appear to be much worse than they actually are. See how many of these thought patterns might be clouding your own view of life..
All-or-nothing thinking: Everything is good or bad, with nothing in between. If your opponent is not perfect, then he or she is completely evil..
Overgeneralization: A single negative event turns into a never-ending pattern of defeat. "My opponent didn't support the bill I wanted. My opponent is never going to do anything right."
Mental filter: One single negative thing about your opponent colors everything else. When you're depressed about this, it sometimes feels like you're "looking at the world through mud-colored glasses."
Disqualifying the positive: If somebody says something good about your opponent, it doesn't count. But if somebody says something bad about your opponent, you "knew it all along."
Jumping to conclusions: You make a negative interpretation of your opponent's claims, even though there are no definite facts that convincingly support your conclusion.
Mind reading: You think that your political opponent is thinking negative things about one your favorite programs and don't bother to check it out. You just assume that this is true.
The Fortune Teller Error: You think that things are going to turn out badly if your opponent is elected to office, and when it happens you convince yourself that it's the end of the world.
Magnification (catastrophizing) or minimization: Imagine that you're looking at the opposition candidates through a pair of binoculars. You might think that any mistake they made or is more important than it really is. Now imagine that you've turned the binoculars around and you're looking through them backwards. Something a candidate you favor has done might look less important than it really is,
Emotional reasoning: You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are: "I feel it, therefore it must be true."
Should statements: You beat up on yourself as a way of getting motivated to do something. You"should" have done this, you "must" do this, you "ought" to do this to do your part to influence the outcome of the election, and so on. This doesn't make you want to do it, it only makes you feel guilty. When you direct should statements toward others, you feel anger, frustration, and resentment.
Labeling and mislabeling: This is an extreme form of overgeneralization. When the other candidate makes a mistake,you give him or her a label, such as, "a loser" or "He's an ass." Mislabeling involves describing an event with language that is highly colored and emotionally loaded.
Personalization: You believe that your vote was the cause of something bad that happened, when, among all the millions of votes cast, your own vote really didn't have very much to do with it.