Over the years we develop a preferred way of processing our feelings, sort of like a habit or bias. This feels comfortable to us because that is what we’re used to. However, it can mislead us, particularly if we’re depressed or emotional.
We focus on things that fit with how we are feeling. For example, if we’re feeling depressed, we notice more sad and negative things about our lives, about the past, about others and about the future. If we’re feeling anxious, we think about and notice anything that makes us feel more anxious and we tend to see danger all around us.
It’s like a sieve and a sponge in our mind!
When we’re depressed, we soak up and hold all the negatives in our sponge, and all the more realistic and helpful positives escape though our mind sieve.
When we’re anxious, we soak up and hold everything that tells us we’re in danger in our mind sponge, all the evidence to the contrary escapes through our sieve.
When you find yourself getting hooked by these sticky thoughts, ask yourself “What am I sponging? What am I sieving?” Then take action to turn things around.