Living with a spinal cord injury (SCI) can be challenging. Life as you once knew it is now a thing of the past. You may be dealing with a lot of different emotions, which can leave you feeling negative about life. While it’s important to understand and deal with your emotions, you shouldn’t let negative thinking consume you.
The Cleveland Clinic says that our brains are programmed to protect our survival by noticing threats in our daily lives. Long ago, this meant knowing when we were in danger from a predator. Today, these threats are noticed through things like finances, the fear of being unsuccessful, the fear of not being loved, etc.
When we start indulging in negative thoughts, we use reassurance to calm ourselves down. However, that tactic can only last for so long. Negative thinking can lead to low self-worth, feelings of uselessness, and having grim feelings about the future, among others, so it’s important to learn how to control them. Try following this process:
- Spend 5 – 10 seconds noticing and focusing on your breathing.
- Find something else that takes your attention away.
- Guide yourself back from the distraction to focusing on your breathing again.
To control negative thoughts, you need to watch them instead of engage with them. If you’re distracted by a negative thought, engage with something happening in the present.
Source: clevelandclinic.org, Accessed: 1/30/17