Refute Irrational Thinking

This world is a series of events… the Way You Think, You Feel!

(i) Thoughts: You interpret the events with a series of thoughts that continually flow through your mind. This “internal dialogue or self-talk” which colours and tells you your world as neutral, positive or negative;

(ii) Mood: Your feelings are created by your thoughts and not the actual events. All experiences must be processed through your brain and given a conscious meaning before you experience any emotional response

Sample scenarios for practise:
  1. Going to work, on a day which is full of appointments and potentially stressful meetings
  2. Recovering from a serious illness, admitted bed-ridden in a hospital.
  3. Going very urgently to meet somebody, on the way having a Flat Tyre
  4. Forced to talk/perform in a public meeting tomorrow
“What are the possible thoughts that may come to you?”. Let's now analyze and categorize them... Some of the most common thinking styles (cognitive errors) are as follows:

ALL OR NONE THINKING: You see things in black and white categories. If your performance falls short of perfect, you see yourself as a total failure.

OVER GENERALIZATION: You see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat.

MENTAL FILTER: You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively, so that your vision of all reality become darkened, like the drop of ink that discolours the entire glass of water.

DISQUALIFYING THE POSITIVE: You reject all your positive experience by insisting they “don’t count” for some reason or other. In this way you can maintain a negative belief that is contraindicated by your everyday experiences.

JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS: You make a negative interpretation even though there are no definite facts. That convincingly supports your conclusion... (a) Mind reading: You arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you, and you don’t bother to check this out; (b) The fortune-teller error: You anticipate that things will turn out badly, and you feel convinced that your prediction is an already- established fact.

MAGNIFICATION OR MINIMIZATION: You exaggerate the importance of things, or you inappropriately shrink things until they appear tiny. This is also called the “binocular trick”.

EMOTIONAL REASONING: You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are: “I fell it, therefore it must be true”.

“SHOULD” STATEMENTS: You try to motivate yourself with “Should” and “Shouldn’t”, as if you had to be whipped and punished before you could be expected to do anything. “Must” and “Ought” are also offenders. The emotional consequence is guilt. When you direct “should” statements toward others, you feel anger, frustration, and resentment.

LABELLING AND MISLABELLING: Instead of describing your error, you attach a negative label to yourself: “I’m a loser!” When someone else’s behaviour rubs you the wrong way, you attach a negative label to him; “He’s god-dam crack”. Mislabelling involves describing an event with language that is highly coloured and emotionally loaded.

PERSONALIZATION: You see yourself as the cause of some negative external event; that in fact you were not primarily responsible for.

Try this simple, “WHAT THEN” exercise for Changing Your Thought

Look at example: An important meeting at office, the train is late by 2 hours.
“The train is going to be two hours late”
“What then?”
“I will have rush for a taxi”
“What then?”
“I will get stuck in traffic”
“What then?”
“I will arrive one hour late for the meeting. Sweating all over”
“What then?”
I will apologize to everyone and explain what happened”
“What then?”
“I may be force fix another meeting, as time may be over”
“What then?”
“I will collapse in my chair, utterly exhausted, a total waste day”
“What then?”
“Then… there’s tomorrow”

Try to practise “What Then” Exercise with other Scenarios

Constructive Self-Talk Alternatives

1. To work, on a day which is full of appointments and potentially stressful meetings.
Today looks like a busy day
The day should be made very productive
I will get a lot accomplished today
I will earn a good night’s rest today

2. Recovering from a serious illness, admitted bed-ridden in a hospital.
I did not die; I made it through
The doctor says I will be able to get back to normalcy soon
I can keep active and gradually get back to most of my old spirits

3. Going very urgently to meet somebody, on the way having a Flat Tyre
Bad time for a flat (begins to get tools out to start working)
I will call and cancel the appointment at the nearest booth
I can ask for another appointment very soon

4. Forced to talk/perform in a public meeting tomorrow
This is a positive challenge in my career
I will take a deep breath and relax
Audience will enjoy my presentation
Each presentation goes a bit better
I can learn the from every experience


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