Here in America, it’s easy to get caught up in the malaise of pop-culture psychology that inundates us with catchy cliche’s and “postitive vibe” mysticism in place of the deep therapy many of us need.
In our culture, it’s common to over-simplify complex issues. Especially, the ones related to our mental health, and it makes it more challenging for us to cut through the B.S. to access the help/resources we need, find the answers we’re looking for, and cultivate emotional intelligence.
Let’s face it… there are times in our lives that positive thinking (alone) won’t be enough.
When Postitive Thinking Isn’t Enough…
Some of us have experienced traumatic events that have created deep emotional scaring and it isn’t just our minds that remember. Our bodies, truly DO keep the score.
As someone who has been deeply depressed and has battled intense suicidal ideations multiple times in my life, trying to fight off the dark energy vultures that’ve attached themselves to me with postive thinking or hippie “vibe” therapy has done more harm than good. In more cases than not, it has only served to intensify and prolong my suffering.
In certain emotional climates, using positive thinking is like using water to try to put out an electrical fire. While water is great for putting out a bonfire at a campsite, using it to put out a fire at the electrical panel in your home is a terrible idea. There’s a high likelihood it will destroy you, possibly your home, and everything in it.
Do This Instead: Inversion Thinking
Rather than postitive thinking, what we need to practice is inversion thinking. Inversion thinking is a mind model that allows us to embrace what we’re thinking and feeling and gradually reframe it.
This is vitally important, because, rather than try to make the huge emotional leaps that postive thinking requires, with inversion thinking, rather than suppressing how we truly feel, we’re allowing it to come to the surface, so it can be managed out in the open.
When I was a teenager, I had really bad acne. When I would notice a white head on my face, I would pop it. Doing so, while it was a “good” temporary remedy, in the long run, it made things much worse, because it created scaring on my face.
What I should have done was fight against my temptation to pop the white heads, let them fester, and use the right medications/topical remedies that would allow me to adress the surface issue in a healthy way that minimized long-term scaring.
Expression Beats Supression
This can be true emotionally, as well. There are some emotions that we need to let come to the surface. Suppressing them does more harm than good.
Inversion thinking is a form of exposure therapy that, when done properly, exposes us to healthy modes of expression that don’t over-simplify, trivialize, or minimize what we’re truly feeling deep down inside.
Inversion thinking, as a stoic philosophy, is generally popularized in business circles more than it is in mainstream Psychology, but I’ve been able to integrate it into my emotional coping strategies too.
I’d love to hear from you! Let me know what your favorite inversion thinking practices are in the comments below. If you have any questions or content ideas you would like to share with me, feel free to contact me at email@example.com
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A Little Bit About Me…
Hi, my name is Daniel Fortune. I’m a husband to 1, dad to 5, U.S. Army combat veteran, mental health advocate, writer, and public speaker currently residing in the central valley of the sunny state of California. I started the Minding My Own Madness Blog as with a vision to become one of the best personal development and mental health resource blogs. As someone who has battled with combat related PTSD and Bipolar 1 Disorder for 2 decades now, I intimately know the unique struggles people living with a mental illness face. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you find yourself in crisis or would just like to say hi. I’m always just a message away.
“You can’t fail if you refuse to quit. Keep fighting the good fight and NEVER lose hope. You’re not alone. There are other people feeling the same way you feel right now. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of wisdom.”
I had the honor of serving with Fortune overseas. He is a solid guy and our relationship has lasted long after us both leaving the Army. He has helped me get out of dark places multiple times. I’m extremely grateful for his friendship and ability to sense when others are in need. Read his content, ask him questions, and journey well!
— Eric (Friend/Army veteran)
So glad I found this blog! It helped me find the mental health resources I needed and get out of a rough patch. Doesn’t hurt to shoot Daniel a message. He was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to respond to me. You won’t regret it. He’s a really cool, down to earth, and knowledgable guy who knows what it’s like to struggle. So grateful for this blog!
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