I’ve often blogged here about cognitive distortions,including mind-reading, fortune-telling, comparisons, and negative filter. (Here’s a list of all thirteen cognitive distortions.)
I’ve also been working on a list of antidotes or remedies, to help break the habit of cognitive distortions.
Here’s the antidote I wanted to focus on, today:
The “In Case of Emergency, Break Glass” Technique. Prepare for the possibility that when you are feeling at your worst, coping strategies and solutions might be difficult to remember. Write down a couple of things that might be helpful to remember when you are feeling bad, and put that in a special place. Also, consider telling somebody else about these “emergency messages,” so they can remind you.
I’ve got my own message I would like to remember, in case of emergency. When I’m feeling down, depressed, hopeless, discouraged, self-critical, or self doubting, I wish I could remember this: I will come through the bad time, with gifts I can use.
However, I can never remember that message, when I’m down. Never! It’s like a spell is cast, that affects my memory. When I’m feeling hopeless or powerless — because of disappointment or shame — my belief is some form of this:
I suck and/or life sucks.
That’s what cognitive distortions do, in a nutshell. They present Sucky-ness of Self and Existence, as The Truth.
But, it’s not The Truth. It’s just a belief, a thought, a temporary state of mind.
Each time, though, when I descend into a State of Ultimate Sucky-ness, I simply cannot remember anything else. My Emergency Message is beyond me.
So, in order to try my “In Case of Emergency, Break Glass” antidote, I’ve been scoping out a special place to place my helpful Message to Self.
About a month ago, I got this box, with a hidden compartment. I thought I’d place my message there.
However, since I so easily lose sight of the message, I decided I needed a receptacle that was a lot less subtle.
So on my vacation, I bought this:
That’s a lot harder to miss.
I’ve printed out this version of The Message:
When you are feeling, hopeless, powerless, selfish, foolish, disappointed or otherwise bad about yourself and your situation, remember this:
You will come out of this. And you will have ideas about ways to move forward.
I’ve placed that message in the box:
Now my box, with message inside, is sitting on the mantle:
I hope I remember it’s there, the next time I need it.
I’ll keep you posted.
Thanks for reading, everybody. (And feel free to post what “emergency message” you might leave for yourself.)