Tell me a story...
It’s been estimated that humans have somewhere in the neighborhood of 50,000 thoughts per day that pass through their brains. These thoughts include everything from tying one’s shoe, to what’s for dinner, to what you think about your spouse. It also includes the thinking that occurs during sleep.
From a Cognitive Behavioral perspective, we observe that many of these thousands of thoughts are really the same thought, only occurring in repetition. A former colleague of mine used to tell his clients that when people have enough of the same thought, they begin to tell themselves stories based on that thought.
All of us use a story or narrative to explain our lives. This is normal and completely understandable behavior. However, if your repetitive thoughts are helping you to create your story in an unproductive, inaccurate or harmful way, it can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression and helplessness.
This is why CBT can be so useful – it helps us to expose how accurate our thoughts and life stories are. It helps us to make new stories and draw new conclusions to situations that plague and impact us.