When struggling with what we feel is a very difficult situation we sometimes feel it is so huge and engulfing us that we can’t possibly get better. I, the founder of Seek A Therapy, am familiar with these feelings and know it can be truly painful and overbearing it can be at times. In this article, we explore using cognitive distancing and taking a step back from one’s situation to help overcome depression and/or anxiety. We also share a video to help you begin the idea of cognitive distancing.
My experience Of Unconsciously Using Cognitive Distancing
Back in 2012 I, the founder of Seek A Therapy was taking anti-depressants of the highest dosage possible. I was suffering from anxiety and depression but I was attempting to make progress. I was fortunate enough to have a supportive family which allowed me initially to sleep a lot. After a while, I set myself a goal of learning Spanish online. I met a woman who helped me with learning the language and befriended a Colombian lady. Even though suffering anxiety, I travelled to London for my first meeting of her where she was studying. We hit it off and stayed close. When she travelled back to Colombia I told her I would come to visit her and so, I set about doing just that. I bought a ticket to Colombia and flew to go and meet her.
It was only when flying to South America and looking down on the earth, through the aeroplane window. I realised all of my problems were so small in comparison to the earth’s size, if not, the universe’s, that I started taking a new perspective! Looking out of the window down at the earth you can see the true beauty that surrounds us. It seems as though sometimes we trivialize our lives. Becoming creatures of habit, forgetting the beauty of things that surround us because we don’t always get the chance to look at things differently.
This was my experience of cognitive distancing as someone who was recovering from illness. I took a new perspective, my life was full of difficulties and disappointments, I had forgotten how beautiful life truly can be.
Travel Opens Your Mind To Possibility. Make It One Of Your Goals
I highly recommend travel as a tool to heal! It really does open up your mind and if you get a chance, you should do it, if you can’t do it right now for whatever reason make it a goal because I believe this experience will be the most valuable thing you will ever possess in your life.
Take A Moment. Using Cognitive Distancing And Taking A Step Back From Your Current Situation
Please take 3 minutes to watch this video, appreciate the beauty of the universe and the earth. Whenever you feel down just look up at the sky, take a step back from the situation and realise how small we are…if we are so small you should ask yourself how small is our problem in comparison? Should we let it stop us from being happy? We have a conscious choice to make. It’s your choice…some days you will be up and sometimes you will be down but never forget things can change. Life has many beauties and it is always around you, you just need to look up and outside your current situation.
About The Video
It was taken over 7 days amongst the highest mountains of Spain and what the photographer/filmmaker captured will simply take your breath away. I highly recommend you go full screen and turn the volume up. The music is from one of my favorite musicians Ludovico Einaudi I highly recommend you check him out.
How Using Cognitive Distancing And Taking A Step Back Can Help Your Depression & Or Anxiety
“Cognitive distancing is the act of perceiving thoughts, images, memories as what they are – nothing more than bits of language and pictures – as opposed to what they appear to be – threatening events, rules that must be obeyed and objective facts.” ~ Yarra Valley Psychology
Cognitive distancing has been used for centuries. In fact, there is evidence that Marcus Aurelius, probably one of the greatest Roman emperors used cognitive distancing. He had a deep interest in Greek Stoic Philosophy and as part of his meditations and daily life and would apply cognitive distancing. Marcus was known to be kind and rarely act in vengeance or overly emotional. He knew how to control his emotions to act based upon reason and take a step back from what the situation was. There were many times he could have become paranoid as people wanted to take his position of power. But by taking a bigger picture of every issue he faced nothing over bared him.
If you want to use cognitive distancing in your life consider seeing a CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) specialist who uses this method of psychology.