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Saturday, October 31, 2015

We All Have Fearful Moments


It's so helpful to hear about your lack of fear. I long to be like you in that regard, I try to picture it sometimes. Just standing there thinking...ha, I am safe, depression cannot get me for more then a few mins...ha! Now that sounds like living.


I may have said that I am a pretty fearless person on occasion. I probably meant fearless because I am a risk taker and I don’t mind dumping myself into a situation where I don’t know anybody, and have no idea how the meeting, or conference or whatever will turn out or what others might be expecting of me. I figure I will be able to handle anything that comes up with common sense, a spirit of good will and the fact that I’m not a quitter, I am honest and I always try to do my best and treat other people as I would like to be treated.

But of course I cannot be fearless in the strict sense of the word. Fear is the basic motivating force in a human being. We only have one psychological defense mechanism—the flight or fight response. But to sink down into that fear/anxiety unnecessarily is something I have learned not to tolerate in myself. There is always something I can do other than think about the fact that suddenly find myself full of fear. As soon as I recognize that I am thinking I am afraid I realize that I am not in reality because reality doesn’t contain unnecessary fear.

If you are “in fear for your life” usually you are too busy at the task at hand (trying to save your life) to be afraid. The definition of reality is giving a pure act of attention to the task at hand. Also known as “being in the NOW.”

So when the fear makes its appearance I take steps to situate myself in reality as quickly as possible.

Friday, October 30, 2015

I See the World Through Sad Eyes


I learned to think of myself as a poor and unwanted creature when I was young, as that is what I was. Do you think that I have some building or rewriting of old programs to do so that life is not filtered through that belief system? What I am saying is that I see the world through my vision which seems to be programmed pretty damn downer and negative...and it is hard for me to believe (though, trust me AB, I really want to) that all I have to do is ignore thoughts and I will feel better about myself.

What if I don't even know they are negative or that I am thinking them?


You may have an inclination to think poorly about yourself because of the way you were treated as a child. But you did survive and since you are no longer a helpless child you can treat yourself with more love and respect. Our nature is not our enemy, it is our path. When you start feeling down you can check in with what you are thinking and you will usually catch some very negative thoughts chasing each other around.

Sit still. Relax your shoulders. Withdraw you attention from whatever you are thinking and focus it, instead, on RIGHT NOW. Look around. Past history doesn’t need to be rewritten. You are not hurting from past history. You are hurting because you are not situated in reality. Reality is a pure act of attention to what is at hand. If you are outside, focus on the trees and bits of alive nature that are near you. Allow them to nourish you. Nature can nourish us if we just allow ourselves to be nourished.

If inside, focus on the floor, a picture. Notice things around you in an objective way.Look for some small task that you can do and get up and do it. Then do another. And another. Just small things. No need to do great things ever. Just the next small thing. There is always the next thing.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

I Have This General "I'm Not Safe" Feeling


As I practice, how to I keep from feeling like I am under constant threat of thoughts? I have this general "I am not safe" feeling. Like I must be on alert at all times for the negative thoughts and therefore I can't relax.


The thought pattern "I am not safe" has become a strong one for you because as you think a thought over and over it becomes dominant. But just because a thought pattern is strong in your brain does not mean that the thought has any basis in reality. In reality you are safe. Your thoughts have no power over you. You can always think any thought you want to think, can't you? Hippoty hop.

Replace the thought "I am not safe" with the thought "I am safe in this moment." Whenever the thought "I am not safe" occurs, replace it with "I am safe in this moment." And then relax your shoulders at the same time. When your body takes a fearful position, just relaxing out of the fearful position helps to lessen the fear.

You always have the power over your own brain to think any thought you want to think. Fear is just a thought. You can replace fear with a nonsense thought or some other more productive or objective thought any time the fear thought comes up. You fear "bank" is full because you keep investing in fear thoughts. Your safe "bank" will fill up as you invest it with more "I am safe" thoughts.
A. B. Curtiss

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Why Can't I Be Happy LIke Other People?


I am practicing techniques from Brainswitch. I am determined to not give in this time. The first big depressed feelings came on Saturday (but there was the build up of negative thinking, and self doubt, and worrying when I’d get the next hit. I was so self-focused on all my fears). So, I immediately lose my appetite and you know , all the familiar symptoms start returning and I think "CRAP...I may not survive this one! Why can't I be like other people? What if I am not strong enough to derail this! Great there goes sleeping!"?


You have made a wonderful start really. To be self-aware that you are being self-focused is the very way out of self-focus.

And never forget, you are not the only one who suffers negative thinking and depression. You are in the company of millions of people who struggle with the same exact things that you describe.

But remember as well there are also people who have been able to pull themselves out of being a passive prisoner of their own thinking and have proactively taken charge of their thinking enough so they can make a good day out of a bad start by insisting on taking the positive fork in the road as soon as they realize they are on the negative highway of thinking.

One exercise is to actually visualize a sign up ahead—POSITIVE THINKING FORK JUST AHEAD. And then take it.  A. B. Curtiss

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

It's Good Enough to be Good Enough


You can see what trouble I’m in when I tell you my passing thoughts. And thanks for your books by the way. I am learning so much.  I don't watch much TV and select movies very carefully because I don't want to feel badly about myself for not measuring up. I also don't want to fill my head with trash. Got to the point that I was thinking "I need to get into acting or I am a total failure and have not lived my dream. I should get some minor plastic surgery improve how I look. I should leave my husband for a rich man." 

I could not have a better husband, by the way...he is simply one of the most sincere, hardworking and kind persons on the planet. But it's like you pointed out, he's not rich so I tend fall into the trap of thinking he is not as good as rich people, and neither am I. So easy to fall into that. Things really seem to be out of hand in that regard to my thinking these days. How can I stop thinking like this, I hate it.


There’s a phrase in the Desiderata that seems to describe the problem you are writing about “…if you compare yourself with others you may become vain or bitter for always there will be greater and less persons than yourself.”

Of course, notwithstanding we know better, we all tend a little toward this kind of comparing ourselves anyway. It’s human nature. We are a herd animal and we need to feel connected to our fellow in order to feel secure. We also want to check ourselves out so that we do not do anything or become anything to cause our fellows to reject us. For a herd animal this is like being given a death warrant. For us humans, of course, this is hyperbolic to say being rejected is like a death warrant. But for all of us that flash of hurt is sometimes overwhelming because the primal instinct that we need to “belong” is still strong within us.

As humans beings, though, unlike other herd animals, we have our higher deductive reasoning powers which can come to our aid if we have sufficiently inputted into our memory banks some education, some ethics, some reasonable familiarity with calling upon our courage that we can access.

Remember that our brain is a defense mechanism. Its default position is fear. So when we compare ourselves with others, fall short of our own or other’s expectations or accomplishments we are vulnerable. If we know in advance about all this we are, of course, better prepared to deal with it when it comes upon us.
For all of us, I propose, the thought “not good enough” is our fall-back position whenever we feel vulnerable. When we walk into a roomful of strangers. When a friend bests us in some way.

From this automatic fall-back position, if we have educated ourselves, another neural pattern can trigger through learned association with our vulnerable position that reminds us “Hey, I’m good enough.  RELAX. I may not be perfect, but I’m a person who tries to do the right thing, I am doing the best I can, I’m a person of good will, I try to give others their due. Why am I kicking myself and knocking myself out to be better. Than who? For what reason? Ordinary and hardworking? Isn’t that me? Isn’t that enough? And if no one likes me right now. This is just the time I have to stand alone. Everybody has times like this. I’m no different.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

What About Seasonal Depression?


Do you think there is anything to seasonal depression? At the very least I do wonder if it is easier to think more positively when the sun is shining. I seem to have an easier time of it. I struggle to find things to do to fill my time when it's rainy, and since I live in the Northwest now...it seems like it’s always rainy! Going to be getting dark at about 6pm...rainy on the weekends...oh boy! Scares me.


Maybe this sounds harsh, but this is what I think about seasonal depression. It may be a diagnosis for people who think too much about how they are feeling and do not think enough about what they are doing to move forward with their day. As Shakespeare put it, “there is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so.”

Downer thoughts are just downer thoughts. Why think downer thoughts about the rain.? For me, personally, I love the rain because we need it so badly here in Southern California. The rain might have saved thousands of people's houses here that burned in the last wildfires. Imagine how those old farmers in the 1930s would have blessed the rain that might have saved their crops.

People will always find excuses for why they are feeling bad. People feel bad because they do not think the things and do the things that would make them feel good. Curl up with a good book and thank your lucky stars that you are not blind and so therefore you can read and see the rain around you. Thank your lucky stars that when it rains you have a roof over your head and don't have to sleep out in the street as millions of people in the world have to do.

We can’t have a grateful thought and a depressive thought at the same time. So we have to choose which one we are going to think. Which do you think is the better choice? A. B. Curtiss

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Give Yourself an Ego Boost

Don’t wait around for somebody else to boost your spirits. Be your own best friend and pat yourself on the back now and then. 

I saw the movie “The Help” quite a while ago and found it fairly forgettable since it was all so stereotypical. However one small phrase must have impressed me because it came to mind recently. It was uttered by the nanny who said so lovingly to the baby, “You is beautiful, you is kind, you is smart.” Imagine having someone say that to you every day since you were a baby. Probably would have made a big difference in your life, wouldn’t it?

Maybe nobody told us such uplifting things very often when we were young. But so what? We can always tell it to ourselves. The thinking that we have to love ourselves first before we can love anybody else has some validity perhaps. But the reverse is certainly true. If we hate ourselves for any reason, if we are stressed to the limit, it will surely be difficult to connect with anyone else in a loving way. And since we are a herd animal, we have a primal need to feel connected. 

So we can use something even as simple as this, with all the incorrect grammar—use it as a mantra. It probably will do more good than what we may already be using as a mantra “I’m so discouraged.” “I feel so down on myself.” “I’m such a failure.” “I’m so damn stressed out.” All these thoughts, remember, since our brain works by learned association, are instructions to our brain to put us in touch with everything downer and negative in our memory banks. Yuck.

So I’m going to tell myself. And you tell yourself. And I’ll tell you as well, “You is beautiful, you is kind you is smart.” Believe it!  A.B.Curtiss

Monday, October 19, 2015

Don't Leave Room in Your Life for Depression

We have to keep elbowing depression/anxiety/angst/despair or whatever you call it out of our life. And we have to find an uptick wherever we can.

This morning I woke up in the old dark pit as usual. I picked some dumb phrase to thoughtjam it while I got up, made my bed, got on my inversion table for ten minutes while letting the the hot water run in the tub for my bath after I swam. But before I swam I took out the recycles, walked the dogs, checked on a leak in the irrigation system, took the book boxes out of the car since I did a booksigning this weekend (my husband helped me), asked my husband to get out the blower so I could blow off the patio(which I would do later). Then I took off the pool cover.

I just kept doing one small task after another which is why I can’t remember the dumb phrase I picked for thoughtjamming. Pretty soon my brain turned completely off the phrase because it had to keep up with all my little tasks which I made sure I was concentrating on as I did them. (Otherwise I know that sneaky mind of mine might try to dump me in the pit again.)

I never forget that the mind can only concentrate on one thought at a time and the brain always follows the direction of its most CURRENT dominant thought.

I keep a pool cover on the pool to save the water from evaporating since we have a drought here in California and, as I said, I have other leaks in my yard. Then I swam my 20 laps and during that time I had no thoughts except keeping count of my laps. “One, one, I’ve just begun,” “two two, zip de do.” and so on.  I always feel virtuous for doing 20 laps but that doesn’t mean I want to do 21.

When I finished my laps, I started to pull the cover back over the pool before I got out and was surprised that it seemed more difficult than usual. Wasn’t I doing enough weight lifting? (Not that I do all that much but I do some.) By the time the  pool was half-covered, I realized that the reason it was so hard was that one of my large German shepherd dogs had been sleeping on the cover and was enjoying the ride. I laughed. The joke was on me. Then (because I’m always looking for possibilities to raise my mood in the morning) I decided to REALLY LAUGH. Hey, thanks for the joke, God. I went in and told my husband about the dog. We both had a good laugh. Now I’m feeling good again. Sorry depression, no room for you this morning. See you tomorrow. Or whenever.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

I Feel Like a Loser


I think I get depressed because I’m always down on myself—I should lose weight, some of my younger friends are doing so much better than I am financially. Sometimes I just feel bad about not ever being a winner, not ever standing out in any way, not feeling special. I feel guilty for not being than I am. Is this normal?


I think that people who worry about being a better person feel that way because they are basically a good person. 

I think we all tend to be victims of the human motivation movement inspired by such speakers as Tony Robbins in the last decade or two that purported to make everyone a winner and rich. You could really make a case that being ordinary and doing one's duty is not highly valued in our society. Whereas being self-assured and self-confident and being a success is highly valued.

Too many people put aside questions of essential right and wrong as "old-fashioned" in order to succeed. Look at the car company recently that built in a device in the new models so that the car could “fool” the emissions tests. But these people are often found out and end up losing their important positions. Those who remain honest and honorable and refuse to be corrupted may not be rich, but they sleep at night and they can look anybody in the eye because they know they didn't sell out.

Build your life on doing your best every day and rededicating yourself when you fail. Don't build your life on how good you feel about yourself because you are a winner. And especially don’t build your life around how bad you feel about yourself because you’re not a winner. Many of us have tried to win some gold medal or other, lost, and must content ourselves with being good people and making the best out of our day. When you go out and look at the stars, you start to realize that you are a part of something really beautiful. Try to add to the beauty of life by being a beautiful person in your efforts to be just an ordinary good person not a wonderful, self-assured one. A. B. Curtiss

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Just Do the Next Thing When Anxious

You can't just give up and sink deeper into your anxiety. As soon as you feel that anguish and pain of anxiety you know that to think about it, to self-focus on what you are feeling will just make it worse. Think some objective thought, do some productive action and get your mind to focus on the present reality of the objective thought or action you are doing. Insist on thinking anything else except thinking about your anxiety. "Green frog" is the exercise I use most often. But sometimes I used "Bzzz Bzzz Bzzz" because it is so quick to say and easy to concentrate on. It's a good thoughtjammer for not thinking about your anxiety.

And relax your shoulders constantly because your muscles are so tight that your "back is up" and it will re-tense two seconds after you release it. Don't worry. Just keep releasing the tension that you can in your body. Every little bit of release helps the larger situation of the anxiety. Finally if you persevere,, your anxiety will "die the death of a thousand small cuts." And good riddance.

Friday, October 16, 2015

I Need Encouragement


Thank you so much for your encouragement and common sense. Thanks also for forwarding that letter. My mind keeps demanding proof that this brainswitching will work. My mind also keeps telling me that other people can do it because they don't have my exact issues and all this tangled mess of negativity, vanity, insecurity etc. 

I have so many negtive assumptions and judgments that it seems odd that such a small change as saying "green frog" could really last. As I said, I did well with it for a few days and then I started not doing as well. I feel a bit like a rat on a wheel wondering when do I get to quit running? I think I tend to try to complicate things. It means so much to me that you are here and responsive to those of us that need the guidance. Yesterday I had the chance to spread the word about Brainswitch to someone else I know that struggles. He is looking forward to buying and reading it. Peace to you


Expecting that doing these exercises to get out of depression are somehow a permanent fix is incorrect. Like any maintenance, the excersizes need to be frequently employed to match frequency of the negative pop ups you get from passive thinking. After a while the employment of the exercises itself does become a permenent fix similar to a regular, well-kept schedule of physical exercise that you establish and keep up to insure your body remains in good health. There is no way to "fix" depression or anxiety so it won't trigger. 

Sometimes anxiety and depression trigger for good reason and we should always make sure our nutrition is giving our body what it needs by routine check-ups with a homeopathic practicitioner or doctor of Chinese medicine. But when these fear responses trigger for no reason except habitual thinking, then thinking "green frog" or some similar exercise instead of thinking "I feel helpless, in despair and I could scream" is a good idea. It continues to work for me. A. B. Curtiss

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Is Brainswitching Too Good to be True?


I really seem to struggle with practicing brainswitching on days when I don't have much going on. Weekends and evenings are hard for me. Today started to doubt the process altogether. I think I could use some couching or reassurance.  Can you tell that this has worked for people? I could really use the reassurance.

All I really have to go on are you and a few Amazon reviews (and any courage I can drum up). I would love to hear from you that you have seen this work for people. That you personally have seen more than just your own life changed from this.

Also, to pull me out of this I mainly use the "green frog" type exercise. Is that the method you recommend? There are sooo many exercises in the book and I am a little intimidated by that. I would like it to be as simple as using green frog. My thinking about everything is so damn negative! I seem to see everything as a problem or a threat. I am so damn tense. I just want to cry and scream, why me? And when can I relax? I had a much easier time of it the first few days after I read the book...I felt inspired. Some part of me really does suspect that this could be my ticket to freedom, but I don't want it to be too good to be true. I understand that you have to believe for anything to really work. I guess I am asking for more to believe in. You really aren't afraid of it anymore? You know other people that aren't afraid anymore?

I know you may find yourself busy, so...when you have the time.


Don’t worry about belief. Just use common sense. If you try something and you get a good result, use it again. The fear that it won’t “really work,” is unreasonable fear. You can’t use unreasonable fear for anything worthwhile so whenever unreasonable fear pops up—turn your thoughts to common sense thoughts and reach for something that has worked before.

Yes, I know of many people that have used just a simple exercise like "green frog," or "hippoty hop", or"so what" and have not sunk back into their habitual depression.

The elaborate exercises are for further work .You can always learn something from them but they are not necessary to get out of depression. I still use simple exercises myself whenever I need them.

No, I'm not afraid of my own brain anymore as I am in charge of it.  Not because of my belief in any system, but because I have learned to use a little common sense and that has given me the confidence over time that I can always use my common sense when fear strikes.

Your thinking does not ever have to be negative. You can always change it to something non-emotional or more productive. It is common sense. The opposite is untrue. It is simply untrue that you can't think a positive thought when you want. It is simply untrue that you are forced to only think a negative thought when it pops up and have no choice in the matter.

So you are in fear because of something that is untrue. Does that make common sense? Yes, it takes courage to take charge and take full responsibility for your own thinking when it is a new idea to you.

Courage comes with the exercise of it. There is an alternative to thinking a non-emotional thought or a productive thought when fear arises. The alternative is to think a depressive or negative thought. But a depressive or negative thought is an unnecessary alternative. You are terrified of an unnecessary alternative. It is always easy to freak out. But it is not necessary.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Wow! Brainswitching Worked for Me!


I read your book Brainswitch and gave some of your suggestions a try. I was dubious since none of the other books I read ever made much difference. Higglety-pigglety actually works. Can this really be the end of my long-term depression? Heartfelt thanks to you and your excellent work.


If you have struggled with depression for a long time, those depressive neural patterns are pretty strong. There is no way to get them out of your brain, they remain part of your memory banks. But now that you have had some experience in being able to immediately rescue yourself from the worst of the pain you will start to see a change. 

The more you become more proactive the better you will get.
Much of the pain of depression is caused by the fear that we have of it. Without the fear we don’t tend to get so deep into it that we can’t get ourself back out. Knowing that we can save ourself from the worst of it right away alleviates the fear.

Now you have some tools. You have some coping mechanisms.You are no longer completely at the mercy of depression. You know that it is possible to leave the scene, so to speak, and offer the brain another fork to take out of depression. Then you can move on more easily with your day, and the concentration on other more productive activities will get you to a more peaceful, loving place. Knowing something about how the brain works can also help you boost your confidence.

Knowing, for instance, that the mind can’t use a no is extremely helpful not only for depression but for our larger life. The subcortex, in its strategy of fear (via the fight-or-flight response) which causes us to come to a stop because of our pain, is in effect a no. But other than that there is no neural framework in the brain that can do a “no.” If you know that giving the mind a command of no will simply force it to root around in its learned associations (remember that the brain works by learned association) for some kind of a yes it can continue with; like the yes of our compulsion to feel depressed or to eat a second helping, you can make a lot of changes in your life. You can’t not think depression, but you can think something else instead of it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Don't Just Collapse into your Depression


I read Depression is a Choice and gained some hope from it. The simple fact that you don't suffer long periods of depression anymore after suffering so terribly for so many years is enough to lend hope to those of us suffering. For the last 5 years, since I was about 25, I suffered on and off from anxiety/depression. I am thinking about getting yout book Brainswitch now. I hope it helps me. I am several months into a particularly nasty mood spell that just keeps me down. 

I have read countless books! I thought the system of Radical Acceptence was going to be the answer for me, but it turns out I'm not that great at accepting this. If I can’t manage to do Radical Acceptance do you think I can be successful with Brainswitching?


I will relate an experience to you that should be of some comfort. The other night I woke in the middle of the night with a particularly horrible feeling of depression. I suffered with depression for so many years that those neural patterns in my brain are still very strong and can be triggered off by anything.

This night, the feeling was so agonizing that my first thought was, no wonder people are so afraid of this. Then I thought, this is unbearable. I felt like my whole body was filled up with pain. I could barely breathe. Then I thought, how easy it is to suffer this but why am I suffering when I know I can get out of it? Because it seems so natural to suffer the pain in your own body, I thought. It seems so inevitable, so necessary. And yet, I thought, I know that I can thoughtjam it and why don't I?

Then I did start to thoughtjam it with the dumb little song "Yes, we have no bananas today".  It’s an old 1940s song my father used to sing. The depression seemed so insistent that I shortened the phrase to Yes, we have no, Yes, we have no and just concentrated on thinking it over and over. Over and over. I went back to sleep in less than a half hour (I know because my clock chimes every half hour and I didn't hear the chime). When I woke in the morning, that feeling of dread was not there.

It is easy and it seems absolutely necessary to suffer our depression when it comes upon is. But we do not have to continue to suffer it. Depression is extremely hard to turn away from, but with great effort, we can turn away, and we do not have to suffer more than a few minutes until the brain turns away from the direction of concentrating on depression (which puts us in touch with everything that is negative in our memory banks, and concentrates, instead, on the nonsense rhyme which tends to connect with other objective and non-emotional patterns in our memory banks to give the depression/anxiety time to take a back seat in our awareness because we are no longer concentrating on the depression.

Depression needs our concentation. Depression can't think itself if we are concentrating on a thought other than the depressive thought.

Monday, October 12, 2015

These Intense Negative Thoughts are Getting to Me


These thoughts are really intense : I don't want to live. Why should I bother doing all this work? My life has no purpose anyway. All these thoughts are really trying to get me tonight. I considered going and laying out in the yard and just letting it all pass away. Ignore, ignore, ignore? Misery sucks. What to do?


The thoughts you a having are not really intense thoughts that are out to get you. What is intense is your intense concentration upon them.

As you already know, these negative thoughts are just old habits, old habitual thinking that you should drop in favor of other more productive thoughts. Why do you think these thoughts? You don't have to, you know that. So why do you do it?

Instead of thinking about yourself. Why don’t you think about all the other people in the world that are carrying unbearable burdens. Send a little love to them in their hour of need. Think about them. That is also something you can do and it will be much more rewarding than trying to make yourself happy which is almost impossible anyway. 

We don't really make ourselves happy directly. We find productive and loving things to do and then our fear subsides and we experience our own okayness. AB Curtiss

Sunday, October 11, 2015

A Prisoner of the Preconceived

So many people have said this poem was helpful to them and many people actually take a picture of the page with their cell phones when I'm booksigning and they don't have money to buy the book. Yesterday at a booksigning someone told me that this page was very "famous on tumblr". I tried to find it on tumblr but I don't know how to navigate the site. Anyway, here is the poem:

From my book:

You have become a prisoner of the preconceived.
Your hopes are your insanity.
You cannot plan God, plan reality.
Reality is always a surprise.
The truth you see is hidden by your wish to find it.
You are chained to every pain and sorrow by your desire
That it shouldn’t be happening the way it is.
That nearly kills you.
Seek what is at hand.
When you give up all your hopes
You also give up all your fears.
Save yourself, heal yourself, rest yourself in the unexpected.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Feel a Little Love Coming Your Way


Life seems so bad and against me right now. I am so tense from guarding my thoughts. I feel under constant threat by them. I am so preoccupied by the "I don't want to live this life" and all the other negatives.

Have I just hit a bump in the road? Felt like I was doing ok there for a while with brainswitching and then it got a lot more difficult for me to practice. Been stuck in the house for days with my sick husband who is in a lot of pain so maybe that’s tensing me up. But I am under a deluge of one negative, weird thought after the other.

This is all just an illusion right AB? Life does not really suck? I am not a loser and doomed? It's all just a product of random thoughts that I can ignore....right?


You will be feeling bad as long as you are thinking bad thoughts. When you think good thoughts or objective, non-emotional thoughts for about 20 minutes you don't feel quite so bad anymore. When you get busy with small tasks and you think creative, good thoughts then you will start feeling good. And you are in charge of thinking those things and doing those things that will help you feel better. Of course, no one wants to do productive things when they’re feeling bad. That’s human nature. But we have to get out of our instinctual mind into our reasoning mind.

Think about your husband instead of yourself. Think about how to make him comfortable or at least support him lovingly. Just being there, holding our hand when we feel bad is so therapeutic.

Thinking about ourselves and how we are feeling, self-focus, is the death of happiness. It is just our habit to do this. It is as hard to break the habit of negative thinking as it is to give up smoking. Some people would rather die of cancer than give up smoking. But it is our choice.  

I’m sending you a hug. Feel a little love coming your way. A. B. Curtiss

Thursday, October 8, 2015

I'm Getting Tricked by my mind.

I seem to be getting tricked by my mind instead of me doing my mind tricks to change it. Like my mind has found a new way for this to not work. When I use thought jamming, and brainswitching, I have this recurrent undertone thought that I am crazy/unstable (pick your own insult) for having to do it, so it's like I end up thinking "Green Frog I Suck and am Crazy" bah! "Green Frog I suck.... any suggestions?


Keep choosing non-emotional association thoughts as you are doing. When one becomes contaminated because you have associated it with negative emotional content, choose another that is not contaminated. To keep from contaminating nonsense exercises be more vigilant in pulling back from the negative quicker.

And remember that knowing is not doing. Thinking your objective and nonsense thought is doing. Not wanting to think a negative thought is knowing but not doing. 

The thought that an objective thought won’t work is a negative thought.

Your mind is very clever but not as clever as you can be. Your mind is stuck in the negative. You don’t have to be stuck in the negative. You are a much freer agent than your mind.

Your mind does not have freedom of the will. You have freedom of the will. Your emotional mind must function by rote, by instinct. You are able to function by reason.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

How to Keep from Making Negative Associations with Things


Can you help me with making negative associations with things?  I even do it with objects. Every time I set my glasses down for the night I think, I will be depressed and I will know when I see these glasses in the morning that I am depressed. 

My mind is trying to find all kinds of ways to trick me into thinking this it seems. I just have to keep believing it will get easier. I try to force the thought, I love my life, or glasses are cool instead. thanks,


Yes, you are on the right track. Any reference to a thought or to an object that your brain makes should be immediately ignored, while you do just as you said, think an uplifting thought instead. 

Try this: Tell your brain it can think any stupid thing it wants, but today you are going to live a good life and think good thoughts and then get on with something. Notice any negative thought or negative association, accept anything negative completely and immediately and then, just as immediately, ignore it. Feel the fear in yourself at these time, accept your fear completely and get on with your day in a cheerful way, 

Remember Roman Stoic Philisopher Seneca’s assertion, “…there is no cheerfulness like the resolutions of a brave mind.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Can you Really Fake it Until you Make it?


We have two dogs that we had before we were married, one is my husband's, the other mine. Somewhere along the way I decided that I did not much like my husband's dog. I thought he was lazy, only cared about food, not as smart as my dog and chewed up some valuable items, etc, etc.

I realized one day a few years back how ridiculous it was to not like a dog. He's just a dog after all. Yet over the years I have not been as sweet to him and wasted energy thinking negatively about him. The other night, I made a decision to fake liking my husband’s dog. I walked up to him and petted him vigorously and talked excitedly. 

Funny thing was, it took only a few minutes and I actually felt it more genuinely toward the end, I was not faking nearly as much. I really felt closer to that dog.

Then, I thought. Maybe I can apply this to my happiness practice. You have said to fake it even when you don't feel it. That has proven a challenge for me. Now that I see it can work on some level. I am going to keep trying it on myself. Lying to my brain to achieve a better mood. Wish me luck :) Am I fooling myself? Do you think it will work?


I do wish you luck and of course it will work. You are certainly headed in the right direction. It's a true tenet of cognitive behavioral therapy "fake it until you make it."  But the "make it" doesn’t really refer to behavior, it really refers to making the proper neural patterns in your brain so they will later be available for your use.

So you are not really lying to your brain. You are simply insisting on your own on-purpose, pro-active behavior instead of reactive behavior based on old patterns of thinking which your brain pops up on its own. 

And you are actually changing your brain because you are making new neural patterns about liking instead of disliking. We like the things that we invest our interest in.

We dislike accidentally based on fear. We can like what we formerly disliked on purpose based on our own loving energy which is given us by our Creator..
A. B. Curtiss

Monday, October 5, 2015

There is no Feeling Good Nirvana


I wish I was better at reassuring myself. I have so little self trust it seems. I think that is what I am seeking the most. I also feel like maybe someone who has seen people like me often has some sort of magical advice. So I am thinking of seeing a therapist. But maybe all my thinking about seeing a therapist is all an effort to avoid doing the hard work myself, or at least delaying the hard work I have to do. It took you a couple of years to get the hang of this right? And to lose the fear of depression returning? My negative thoughts are always so much stronger than my more positive ones. Why is that?


The reason our negative thoughts have so much power is that negative thoughts hook us directly into our instinctual defense mechanism, the flight or fight response. Then, of course, talking about and thinking about fears and crazy negative thoughts simply strengthens them.

We all have crazy negative thoughts. The idea is to recognize them as crazy, negative, non-useful thoughts, to acknowledge that they are not reality, and move your brain into another line of thinking as quickly as possible rather than marinate in all the negativity. 

Nobody feels perfectly ok for good. We feel ok. Then we feel not okay. There is no nirvana of feelings where we have reached the final destination of okayness. The idea is for us to deal correctly with our not feeling okay by realizing that the feelings of depression are not for real. The are not permanent. They are temporary.They are not present reality. We have to get ourselves back to present reality as quickly as possible.

Depression is not reality. Depression is the body being temporarily in a state of alarm. 'Depression and anxiety are symptoms that our body always exhibits under the influence of stress chemicals caused by the triggering of the fight or flight response. Change our thinking, change our chemical balance. Change our chemical balance, change our brain. Change our brain, change our life.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Is Refusing Negative Thoughts Enough to Get out of Depression?


I was thinking after I read your book, Depression is a Choice, that I wondered if a therapist might be able to spot if I am going off track or give me pointers to getting out of my negativity. But then my next thought was that really, the only pointer is...never allow a negative thought once you are aware that you are engaging it.

That's it right? That's all it is isn’t it?

Perhaps I am allowing my mind to make it more complicated. But, it's not complicated, it’s just hard to do, right?


When we are first learning to manage our depression instead of collapsing into it, we lack confidence that refusing negative thoughts will actually work every time to alleviate our pain. It is not easy to refuse negative thinking. And yet, we only need one thing. Our decision to do exactly that.

What it all comes down is a decision to refuse all negative thinking no matter what. After that, depression still triggers but we can take the real hurtful edge off it almost immediately. And then have a better opportunity to take a more positive fork in our thinking and thus pursue a more productive and pleasant day.

It’s also nice to feel more confident in our ability to get rid of depression when it comes. so that a lot of our generalized fear about depression is alleviated even at the moment it hits us. That in itself can keep the depression from moving in on us so hard. The confidence does grow with practice but it is the decision itself that is all important because the decision takes the place of confidence, takes the place of pills for those who have been on medication and choose, with their doctor's help, to go off of it. When confidence grows it is nice, but not necessary. A. B. Curtiss

Saturday, October 3, 2015

How Do You Find Your Passion?


I think I’m beginning to understand what you mean when you say that the way you can get out of depression is not complex, but it is challenging. And then once you’re not in such a bad way, you can move on to more productive activity that moves you further away from depression. I hear people talking about “finding their passion.” I agree that we all need some sort of passion in life that anchors us. The question is how do I find one?


You are right. The way you get out of depression is not complex, but challenging. Once out of depression, or once the edge is off, you need some job, or craft or interest that you can turn your attention to, something that roots you to life and connects you with other people. And no one can do this for you. You, yourself have to put down the roots according to your own interests. Otherwise you feel rootless and aimless just wandering around in life not feeling really connected to anything.

This doesn't mean, as some therapists think, that there is something wrong with you, some past injury that has damaged you and needs to be corrected. It just means that you have yet to do the work of finding a compelling interest in some work, study or worthy endeavor that can productively occupy your mind. You might be hampered by some repressed fear, but this you can get in touch with (read Chapter Ten in my book Depression is a Choice). Many people have found great satisfaction in concentrating their efforts on some worthy project like Meals on Wheels, working at a women’s shelter, taking up oil painting, going to school to pursue some study of interest, taking a leadership role in Toastmasters, International after they got over their own fear of public speaking and social shyness. Sometimes you don't know what interests you until you try a few things and see what sticks. A. B. Curtiss

Friday, October 2, 2015

Is Positivity Untrue?


When you say that negativity is not the truth, it is comforting to me. But then my mind says, well... why is negativity not true and the positivity is true? thoughts?


Negativity comes from illogical fear (not legitimate fear where we are really in physical danger) and anything that comes from fear is not going to be appropriate to our lives. In the same sense that negativity is not true, is not reality, so also positivity is not true, not reality. It is better described as “magical thinking.”

However positivity usually comes not from fear but for love of something—striving to be happy, a mind meditation to get out of negativity. Anything we do out of love is usually appropriate to our lives in some way. So in this way although positivity is not any more reality than negativity, it is still useful.

Since the mind always follows the direction of its most current dominant thought, repetitive, on-purpose thinking about positive things is instructions to the mind to put us in touch with all the positive and cheerful things in our memory banks and can turn us in a more productive direction than suffering with depression or anxiety. We will be more able to make a choice of some task at hand that we can turn our attention to and leave our concentration on how bad we feel.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Why is Negativity Untrue?


I would like to know why you say that negativity is untrue.


Reality is true. Reality is a pure act of attention to what is at hand. There is no negativity in a pure act of attention to what is at hand. There is no negativity even in planning some action wherein you are weighing the risks versus reward factors. Even though the action (where you will be acting) may be in the future, the planning itself is a pure act of attention to what is at hand--planning. Actively planning something is as much being in the NOW as the future planned action per se would be being in the NOW (where you would be acting.)

Negativity would be involved in idle musing, not on-purpose thinking but passive thinking where you end up having downer thoughts and therefore downer feelings about people, places or things that you are not actively engaged with at the moment. These would be rambling thoughts about something in the past or something in the future. Feeling bad about the past or future is not giving a pure act of attention to what is at hand. It is not being situated in present reality and therefore, it is not "real" or "true" but "untrue."