Then, there is Rita.She was divorced by her husband after a marriage of twenty five years.I only know that they did not get along from day one.Now that their children are well established,they decided to part ways.Hari has adjusted to the change but not Rita.She was unhappy when she was living with him,but she is even more miserable now.She is always cogitating about how she gave her best to this marriage & made so many sacrifices for it.This is the dark side of the whole saga.She forgets that this very marriage gave her two talented children who are doing well today--partly because of the sacrifices they both made to keep the home from breaking.She also enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle & has a job to occupy her.If only she told herself that she did the best which was in her power & she has no regrets if it did not work out,because there is nothing more that she could have done;she would not be so miserable.Or she could have analysed the whole experience to find out where she went wrong & made the corrections that were needed.Because it takes two to tango.This could have laid the foundation for a more harmonious future for her.
Come to think of it,Tia & Rita are not the only two in this quandary.Many people go through their lives mechanically--all the while consumed with destructive inner dialogues.These thoughts could relate to anything--a personal fiasco,a professional dead-end,a dip in the family fortunes,a wayward child or an accident.Here we are talking of thoughts which are not based on real conditions but only fears of probable happenings.Whatever be the cause of these thoughts,their effects follow a more or less similar pattern.
But enough of this somber track.It will be more pragmatic to look for ways to counter this tendency.Going back to Tia-she is an intelligent,highly educated,well-read girl.Too well-read in fact!She goes to the internet & googles the worst possible outcomes of her disease.This naturally sends the worry horses galloping.She forgets that not all sufferers meet those tragic ends.
One day i sat her down & asked her to go to the genesis of her problem.When did these thoughts take root?What was the situation when this happened?Is it the same now?Has it improved or deteriorated?The answers to these questions will tell her if there is any real cause for worry.Most important of all--she has lived through that massive attack on her health.Isn't she better equipped now to handle a repeat of that trauma if at all it were to recur?She needs to keep the contact numbers of her doctor,the ambulance & a dependable escort handy if this happened.These steps are likely to add to her sense of alarm temporarily,but in the long run they will give her a feeling of being in control.
It will help to know the mechanism of negative thinking in simple terms.The memory of a distressing event is stored in our subconscious.Recalling it again & again is like scraping a wound.When we obsess about a traumatic event we inflict upon our mind,the same pain which we suffered originally.This is masochistic behavior.As & when we have time we visit this painful spot & wallow there.This does not happen when we are mindfully employed in an activity of our choice.At such times we forget about the hurts of past & the fears of future.Therefore one way of breaking the cycle of morbid rumination is to find an activity which enthralls us.
One who wants to break this habit should be alert for the triggers which ignite morbid thoughts.Write them down,learn by heart & nip them in the bud when such conditions arise.
A lot of negative self talk concerns our own image of self.For example Rita used to be very self conscious because she could not speak English.She avoided attending social functions because she thought that people will laugh at her & she will make a spectacle of herself.But instead of lolling in that trough she decided to do something about it.She took lessons, & today she is more confident & cheerful.Thus ,going to the root of the negativity & snuffing it out is one way of getting rid of it.
Disparaging self talk circumscribes our efforts & achievements.Black needs to be nullified with white--write down all your positive traits & your accomplishments to date & read them every day.You will soon be rid of the cobwebs in your personality.Ask a trusted friend if your assessment of yourself is based on facts.You might be pleasantly surprised!Similarly write down all the facets of your negative self-image. Undertake to disprove one negative thought every day & see your self image brightening.
When the mind is in turmoil, clear thinking & decision taking become difficult.One needs to have a strong will power & insight in order to heave oneself out of this spot.If someone finds it difficult to do this on his own then he should tap other avenues for help.
*A psychologist or counselor can assist the person to relinquish negative thinking & adopt better modes of thinking & behavior .Cognitive Behavior Therapy is very helpful for modifying faulty behavior patterns.
*Meditation , Yoga & Pranayam are great mind soothers.
*Belief in a benevolent Super Power can aid the religiously inclined to find solace in the thought that God will see to their welfare-they don't need to worry.
*Related to this,but slightly distinct is a fatalistic view of life.If we have strong faith that everything is preordained ,then what is the use of worrying our head off?Might as well enjoy life to the hilt as long as it is possible!'What will be,will be.The future is not for us to see'.Ah but take care!A negative perspective on this very belief could again cause trouble!
*For a person beleaguered by negative thinking,it is a good idea to go through a health check up because poor health too,can induce pessimism.If he suffers from an ailment then quick redressal will solve the problem & if there is no anomaly then too he can heave a sigh of relief & try to nurture his mind.
*A healthy routine & a nutritious diet are also essential for a fit body,mind & soul.
*A person staggering under the weight of damaging emotions feels a vague sense of doom.If you tell him to name the issues which are troubling him,they will certainly fall short of his general opinion about his life.Let him note down in a diary every day what is eating at his mind.After a few days he will realize that life is not all that bad,that many of the issues he jotted down are not so serious,or that he is making progress.If he has not made any headway then too writing it all down will give a fillip to his efforts.
A sense of doom & gloom is a huge handicap--no one knows it better than the sufferer.He may have everything & yet feel sad,empty,useless & hopeless.The root cause lies in his thoughts,because according to psychologists it is the thoughts which spawn our emotions & emotions make our moods.Therefore curtailing negative inner dialogues should be the first priority.Happiness is waiting for him-he only has to lift this pall of injurious self-talk!