The first step in taking charge of your thoughts is to learn how they are related to your feelings and behaviours. In fact, that is what Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (or CBT) is based on, and CBT is what this skill module is all about.
CBT is based on the idea that people with low mood, even depression, anxiety and problems with alcohol or other drugs tend to think in a typical way about themselves, about their environment and about the future.
There is a close relationship between the way we think about ourselves, the environment and our future, and our resulting feelings, motivations and behaviour. For example, when we are feeling depressed or stuck in a certain behaviour, we think in a more negative way - we have a negative bias in the way we interpret just about everything that happens to us, even if there are other ways of looking at the situation. We often aren’t even aware that this is happening - it’s almost automatic. These thoughts and ideas then feed back into our feelings and behaviour - we feel more negative, and less motivated or hopeful about our situation. But, in many cases, there are other ways of looking at those situations, that are equally as likely to be true, but aren’t quite so negative. So, this therapy will try to identify those situations where you have that negative automatic bias, and look at other alternatives to thinking about those situations.
It does take some time and practice to train yourself to do this. But you can change this by re-training your brain to pay attention to these thoughts in a different way, and to attack those negative thoughts and replacing them with new ones. That is what this skill module will look at doing, and in the process will help you cope better with the things that are happening in your life at the moment, and in the future.
Mood monitoring is an important first step in the CBT process.