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revamping thoughts

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In my sessions with my psychologist, I started to realize how negative my thinking was, and how often I would jump to conclusions. And I had always thought of myself as an optimistic person full of positive vibes. Some readers of my blog have asked me how to overcome their depression. Maybe cleaning out the “negative” mindset in our heads is one way?I think taking anti-depressants is one way of bringing the body’s imbalance of serotonin into equilibrium (serotonin is that little chemical inside our body that makes us happy). There are many blogs out there which discuss the use of anti-depressants. I am no expert, and have only taken them for about 10 months, so I wouldn’t know that much. I just remember them making me really drowsy and nauseous. But when you are sunk that low it’s paramount that you are biologically treated for the symptoms.

Yet anti-depressants is not everything. It’s in the mind, at the end of the day I believe. It’s the feeling of despair and hopelessness, the exhaustion, the sense of lethargy that drives us to the extreme and pushes us to jump out of the building to end our lives. It is the negative views we take on the world, ourselves and other people. That’s my own little theory.

So we need to remould our way of thinking. I’m not say you need to be over the top with ignorant enthusiasm, but if cynicism and pessimism is not working for you right now, why not try a little realistic thinking?

Take a simple example: when I got sick I had this irrational thought in my head that Timmie was definitely going to leave me. But, did he say anything to that effect? No. Was there any evidence he was going to leave me? No. In fact, everything pointed to the opposite. And when I started getting my migraines, I thought I was going to die – it’d be the worst case, wouldn’t it? I was so worked up on this possibility of the worst case happening I wasn’t listening to my doctors carefully.

So one day, as I was sitting on my shrink’s sofa and rambling on, it suddenly clicked in my head why I always had these “negative” thoughts. I had been “trained” to think like this. I’m not blaming the activities or education of course, but inadvertently, it has had its influence on my mind.

In economics, finance and banking, I learnt to analyze cost vs benefits of a project. What were the costs and how heavy were they?

In debate, I learnt to pre-empt my opponents’ assertions and hence prepare my rebuttals. So I had to challenge my own thoughts in a negative way and think about the worst way I can get defeated in order to reinforce my arguments and defend my stance.

In law, I learnt to argue different sides of the case, and naturally, put more focus on weak arguments so I could do more research on the issue and find other backing evidence.

In risk management, I am of course happy with the best and real cases scenarios, so time was spent looking at the worst-case scenario to prevent loss of investment and money.

I was conditioned to think about the worst so I can prevent it from happening, whether in the debate competitions or arguing a case in a moot court. In “real life”, then credit and risk management, especially in the last few years, became even more profound in my daily routine so I don’t lend out money if the risks were too high, and just in case another bank did collapse, I had to know how much money we were going to write off. We had to be prepared.

And this mentally of “preparing for the worst”, whilst useful in many situations in planning for the future, can come back from behind and mess with your head. Really, how many times did those borrowers actually defaulted? And how many times have I been bitten by a dog – zero. So why do I still automatically think that a dog is going to bite me whenever I see a stray?

It’s the strength of the mind in convincing ourselves of the reality. There is hope, but of course things can go south too. Either way we need to manage our thoughts. For me, it was the negativity in the way I looked at things and expected events to unfold simply because I was taught too well to prepare for the worst. Now I know where it came from, I can revamp my way of thinking.

I’m sure it’s different for everyone. Have a think as to what it is, and perhaps strengthening the mind can help you overcome your depression. And bring you happiness.

Be me. Be you. Be real.

6 Responses

  1. Cleanist says:

    great thought,i think—-

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about Noch Noch

Enoch Li, (pen name: Noch Noch) is born and raised in Hong Kong and Australia. She has also studied / worked / lived in the US, France, UK, Japan, The Netherlands, China, and has travelled to more than 40 countries. She loves travelling and her curiosity in foreign cultures and languages has led her to enjoy her life as an international executive in the banking & finance industry. However, she was forced to take time off work in 2010 due to her illnesses and after spending time in recovery, cooking, practising Chinese calligraphy, reading and writing – in short, learning to take care of herself and letting out the residual work stress, she has transitioned into a Play Consultant for corporates interested in creative change management and employee well-being using the psychology of playfulness.