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新年新挑战:征服消极情绪

更新时间:2017-1-4 19:51:10 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The Year of Conquering Negative Thinking
新年新挑战:征服消极情绪

Here’s a New Year’s challenge for the mind: Make this the year that you quiet all those negative thoughts swirling around your brain.

这里有一项新年的心态挑战:让这一年成为你平息心头种种消极思想的一年。

All humans have a tendency to be a bit more like Eeyore than Tigger, to ruminate more on bad experiences than positive ones. It’s an evolutionary adaptation that helps us avoid danger and react quickly in a crisis.

所有人都有一种倾向,即更接近小驴屹耳(Eeyore),而非跳跳虎(Tigger,二者都是动画片《小熊维尼》中的人物。——译注),相比积极的经历,人们会花更多时间对坏的经历进行反刍。这是一种进化适应,有助于我们避开危险,在危机中做出快速反应。

But constant negativity can also get in the way of happiness, add to our stress and worry level and ultimately damage our health. And some people are more prone to negative thinking than others. Thinking styles can be genetic or the result of childhood experiences, said Judith Beck, a psychologist and the president of the Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy in Bala Cynwyd, Pa. Children may develop negative thinking habits if they have been teased or bullied, or experienced blatant trauma or abuse. Women, overall, are also more likely to ruminate than men, according to a 2013 study.

但持续的负面情绪也会妨碍我们获得幸福,增大压力和焦虑的程度,最终损害我们的健康。有些人格外容易有消极思想。宾夕法尼亚州巴拉辛维德的贝克认知行为治疗研究协会(Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy)会长、心理学家朱迪斯·贝克(Judith Beck)表示,思维方式可以是天生的,也可能是童年经历造就的。如果遭到嘲弄、欺侮,或经历过明显的创伤或虐待,儿童有可能养成消极思维的习惯。2013年的一项研究显示,女人整体上也比男人更容易纠结。

“We were built to overlearn from negative experiences, but under learn from positive ones,” said Rick Hanson, a psychologist and senior fellow at the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley.

“基因结构决定了我们会过多地沉溺于负面的经历,而没有从积极的经历中学到足够的东西,”加州大学伯克利分校至善科学中心(Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley)的心理学家和高级研究员里克·汉森(Rick Hanson)说。

But with practice you can learn to disrupt and tame negative cycles.

但通过练习,你可以打破和控制这些恶性循环。

The first step to stopping negative thoughts is a surprising one. Don’t try to stop them. If you are obsessing about a lost promotion at work or the results of the presidential election, whatever you do, don’t tell yourself, “I have to stop thinking about this.”

停止消极思维的第一步让人意想不到,那就是不要试图阻止它们。如果你为工作中没实现的升迁或总统选举的结果感到困扰,不管做什么,都不要对自己讲,“我必须停止考虑这个问题。”

“Worry and obsession get worse when you try to control your thoughts,” Dr. Beck said.

“当你试图控制自己的思想时,担忧和执念会加重,”贝克说道。

Instead, notice that you are in a negative cycle and own it. Tell yourself, “I’m obsessing about my bad review.” Or “I’m obsessing about the election.”

相反,你应该注意到自己处在一个恶性循环里,承认这一点。告诉自己,“我因为获得差评而心里过不去”,或者“我在这次选举上寄托了太多”。

By acknowledging your negative cycle and accepting it, you are on your way to taming your negative thoughts. Acceptance is the basic premise of mindfulness meditation, a practice that helps reduce stress and reactivity. You don’t necessarily have to close your eyes and meditate every day to reap the benefits of mindfulness. You can remind yourself to notice your thoughts in a nonjudgmental manner, without trying to change or alter them right away.

通过承认自己处在恶性循环之中,并接受这一点,你便走向了控制自身消极思维的正规。接受是正念冥想的基本前提,这种做法有助于减轻压力和反应性。你不一定非得闭上眼睛每日冥想才能享受正念的益处。你可以提醒自己以一种不加评判的方式关注自己的思想,不试图马上改变它们。

Accepting negative thoughts can also help lessen their weight. Getting mad at yourself for worrying or telling yourself to stop worrying only adds fuel to the negativity fire.

接受消极的想法也有助于减轻它们的份量。因担忧或为了让自己停止担忧而跟自己发火,对消极情绪只会火上浇油。

After you’ve accepted a negative thought, force yourself to challenge it.

在接受一种消极的想法后,迫使自己挑战它。

Let’s go back to the setback at work. Perhaps not getting the promotion made you worry about your overall competence and you were berating yourself about your skills. Ask yourself, “Why would one setback mean that I am incompetent?” Or you might ask, “What have I done in the past that shows I am actually a very competent worker?”

让我们回到工作中的反馈这个问题。或许没有得到晋升让你对自己整体的能力感到担忧,你正在斥责自己缺乏技能。那就问自己,“为什么一次挫败就意味着我没有能力?”或者问自己,“以前我做过什么,能证明我实际上是个非常有能力的员工?”

If you’re having trouble challenging your negative thoughts, try this approach. Imagine that your friend is the one who received the bad news. What advice would you give him or her? Now think of how that advice might apply to you.

如果你难以质疑自己的消极思想,可以试试这种方式。想象一下你的朋友才是接到这个坏消息的人。你会给他或她什么样的建议?现在想想,那个建议如何应用在你的身上。

A study conducted at Ohio State University found that this method — known as Socratic questioning — was a simple way to reduce depressive symptoms in adults. In the study, 55 adults were enrolled in a 16-week course of cognitive therapy sessions. Researchers studied videotapes of the sessions and found that the more frequently therapists used Socratic questioning, the more the patients’ depressive symptoms lessened. The study’s authors theorized that Socratic questioning helped patients examine the validity of their negative thoughts and gain a broader, more realistic perspective on them.

俄亥俄州立大学(Ohio State University)进行的一项研究发现,这个方法——被称为苏格拉底质疑法——是一种减轻成年人抑郁症状的简单办法。在这项研究中,有55名成年人参加了一项为期16周的认知治疗课程。研究人员研究了这些课程的录像,发现心理治疗师越频繁地使用苏格拉底质疑法,病人的抑郁症状就减轻得越多。这项研究的作者们从理论上说明,苏格拉底质疑法能帮助患者检验他们的消极思维的正确性,让他们以更广阔、更现实的视角看待它们。

There will be times when your bleak thoughts are actually valid, but your projections about what’s next are not. Consider this scenario: Your partner has left you for someone else. “My partner doesn’t love me anymore,” might be accurate, said Dr. Beck, but “No one else will ever love me,” is probably not.

有时候你的悲观想法实际上是对,但你对接下来会发生什么的预测并不合理。比如这样的情境:你的伴侣离开了你,和另一个人在一起了。认为“我的伴侣不再爱我了”,这点可能是正确的,但贝克博士说,认为“再也不会有人爱我了”,却不一定对。

Now move from a place of inaction to action to counteract the negative thought. If you are worried about feeling unloved, check in with friends and family members. If you are feeling insecure at work, make a list of your accomplishments. Perhaps ask your best friend to write you a letter telling you all the ways in which you are a good, kind person. Reread the letter daily.

然后再从不作为的状况转向抵制消极思想的行动。如果为感觉没人爱而担忧,就与朋友和家人确认一下。如果你在工作中感觉缺乏信心,就列一个自己的成就单。或许可以让你最好的朋友给你写一封信,从头到尾都在讲你是一个善良的好人。每天读这封信。

Dr. Hanson, author of “Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence,” said it may be helpful to ask yourself if you are accomplishing anything by dwelling on your negative thoughts. If you’re ruminating on your financial problems during a run around the track in hopes of finding a solution, then that is useful. But fretting for lap after lap about the president-elect or a foreign crisis is not going to accomplish anything.

《永葆幸福:获得满足、平静和信心的新大脑科学》(Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence)的作者汉森表示,问问自己是否通过耽于消极思想成就过什么事,这或许能有帮助。如果你在绕着圈跑步时思考自己的财务问题,以期找到解决办法,那可能是有用的。但为候任总统或一场外交危机苦恼地一圈一圈跑,也不会有什么结果。

When your negative thoughts are making you feel agitated and overwhelmed, take a deep breath, and then another. Practicing controlled breathing can help lower the stress response and calm anxious thoughts.

当你的消极思想让你感到焦虑不安或难以承受时,深吸一口气,然后再吸一口气。练习控制呼吸有助于减轻应激反应,稳定焦虑的思想。

Finally, if your thoughts are making you feel seriously distressed and interfering with your ability to work and relax, consider seeing a mental health professional. Therapists who specialize in cognitive therapy, a type of therapy that teaches practical ways to cope with persistent and unwanted thoughts, may be particularly helpful. If the underlying source of your thoughts is clinical depression or intense anxiety, you might want to talk with a professional about the root cause of your negative thinking patterns and discuss medications that can be helpful.

最后,如果你的想法让你感到极为痛苦,妨碍你工作和放松的能力,那就得考虑去看下心理医生。找专门研究认知疗法的心理治疗师,或许尤其有帮助。这种疗法会教你一些实用方法去应对持续存在的、不必要的想法。如果你产生这些想法的潜在根源是临床抑郁症或严重的焦虑症,你或许应该和一位专业人士聊聊你的消极思维模式的根源,讨论一下有助于这个问题的药物治疗。

While you are sorting out what approach works best for you, give yourself a break and have compassion for your overwrought thoughts.

在理清什么方式对你最有用的同时,给自己一个喘息的机会,体恤一下你过分劳累的神经。

“The more you dwell on the negative, the more accustomed your brain becomes to dwelling on the negative,” said Dr. Hanson, who suggests asking yourself, “Are my thoughts helping to build me up, or tear me down?”

“越多地沉溺于负面的东西,你的大脑就越习惯于长时间思索负面的东西,”汉森说。他建议人们问问自己,“我的想法是有助于鼓舞自己,还是将我摧毁?”

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