Day 6 – Taking a closer look…

We’ve covered a lot of information in just five days. I hope it’s been helpful. Today we’re going zoom in on the thoughts we’ve already gone over and take a closer look at what went wrong. Research shows that thinking happier, healthier thoughts makes a difference in our overall well-being. But it’s a lot easier said than done. If you’re absolutely furious about something or in the midst of a panic attack and just casually tell yourself to think of something happy, it’s going to be quite difficult, if not impossible. But, if you can get a handle on the types of thoughts you’re prone to thinking and understand how they relate to your intense emotions, you will begin to gain control. As with most things, this is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight, but by practicing, you’ll notice your anxiety, anger, intense emotions etc. begin to decrease in difficult situations.

Think back to the last time your emotions got out of control (whether mildly or severely). Did you record your ABCs? If not, just think back to what they were…

A) What happened?

B) What did you think?

C) What did you feel/do?

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Let’s focus on (B), since this is a series on Healthier Thinking and all… Now that you know the thought(s) that went through your head, we’re going to examine them. Ask yourself these questions:

1) Can you prove that your thought was 100% true?

2) Was it extreme in any way (i.e. did it include such words as “always,” “never,” “all,” “nothing” etc.)?

3) Were your thoughts perpetuated by how you felt at the time?

4) Was your thought logical?

5) Is there any evidence that exists that does not support what you thought?

Those are just a few to get you started. This may seem tedious but it will be really difficult to gain control of your thoughts if you don’t take a closer look and begin to understand what really happened.

After you do that, the next step is to:

Think of an alternative to the unhealthy thought.

  • Is there something more accurate you could think?
  • If your friend was describing a thought like this, what would you say to him/her?
  • When you are not in the situation that prompted the thought, what might you normally think?
  • If your thought was extreme, is there something more balanced to consider?
  • Thinking back on the past, was there a time when a similar situation was handled differently? What can you gain from that memory?

Now that you have an alternative, how do you feel? Has the intensity of your emotions decreased at all?

Okay… I think that’s enough. Are you sick of ABCs by now? :) Well, I can’t guarantee we’re completely finished with them but we will move on a bit tomorrow. See you then!

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