Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Turning black thoughts into a different colour.

Recently, I did a course in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or CBT, as it's often known. One of the most useful things I learned was about patterns of thinking. Until then, I'd assumed there was nothing I could do change my thinking; my thoughts controlled me, rather than the other way round. What I discovered is that actually, the opposite is true – our thoughts control us, or more specifically, our moods, and if we change the way we think, then, eventually, our moods can change too.

It can be hard to grasp that thoughts and emotions are something we have power over, so to help explain, permit me to use this analogy. Several years ago, I had my 'colours done'. I wanted to know if the clothes I was wearing suited me, and friends advised having my 'colours done' would reveal if this was true.

So I spent an afternoon with a lady who wrapped me, at great speed, in various coloured scarves, to ascertain which did most for my skin tone and hair. Prior to this, I'd always worn black. Many of us have clothes we especially like; shoes we wear daily, jeans we live in, t-shirts that are almost welded to our chests. An afternoon with the scarf-wrapping lady revealed that black, in fact, did nothing for me, and when she draped me in alternative shades, I could see that bottle green and brown suit me far more.

It's no coincidence that it took someone else to help me appreciate this. Because I'd got trapped in black thinking, I couldn't see a different way.

So today, instead of choosing thoughts that are negative, allow yourself, for a second, to consider there may be a positive option. Rather than 'I'm going to have a rubbish day', you could venture to think 'today might be OK after all' for instance. Sometimes it feels like there's no alternative, but trust me, there often is.