Challenge your thoughts and get closer to your feelings

Descartes said it: ,I think, therefore I am., Yet that is not the whole story. Thinking does not exist in isolation. Your thoughts are influenced by your feelings. And vice versa. If you feel happy, you will think more positively about yourself and the world around you. If you feel down, negative thoughts may predominate. However, feelings cannot be controlled easily. You can consciously use your thoughts to control and thereby change your feelings. By consciously changing your thoughts, you change how you feel. And through your feelings you can expand your available palette of feelings.

  • Automatic thoughts
  • What do automatic thoughts do?
  • Automatic thoughts change
  • Complete the GGGGG schedule
  • Helpful thoughts
  • The core idea
  • Ask for help formulating helpful thoughts


Automatic thoughts

Fixed thoughts often underlie the way we think about ourselves and the way we interpret the behavior of others. These are the so-called automatic thoughts. Think of negative thoughts such as ,I’m not worth anything either.,, ,They don’t want me anything either., Or positive thoughts like ,I’m always lucky., and ,How everyone is always nice to me.,.

What do automatic thoughts do?

These automatic thoughts influence the way you define yourself, how you feel about yourself. Your thoughts and feelings together influence the way you interpret experiences and events. If you assume that everyone has your best interests at heart, you will probably be able to quickly forgive a driver who cuts you off for this mistake. You may think, ‘Maybe he couldn’t do anything else’, or ‘there must be something very urgent that is causing him to be in such a hurry’. However, if you are convinced that everyone is targeting you, you will see this confirmed in thoughts such as ‘they just don’t like me’ or ‘no one takes me into account’. These thoughts are very persistent. Before you know it they are in your head and you can’t just ignore them. Subconsciously, your brain gives the most priority to the thoughts that evoke the strongest feelings. This means that you think these thoughts most often. They are not called automatic thoughts for nothing.

Automatic thoughts change

The good news is that you can change these thoughts. By adjusting the feeling that comes with it, you can influence the thoughts. Unfortunately, this is not easy. Your brain has a preference for ‘the known path’. Thoughts that you have thought many times are more likely to be triggered. To learn new thoughts it is as if you first have to build a dirt road, which, if you drive it often enough, can eventually develop into an easily accessible highway. Once there is a highway, these ‘new’ thoughts can also zoom over it and are the first to come to mind. This makes it easier to experience these new feelings and demonstrate new behavior.

Complete the GGGGG schedule

To help you discover these new thoughts and internalize them, you can complete a G-chart. Or actually a GGGGG schedule. A schedule in which you write down the event , your thoughts about it, the associated feelings and your behavior and its consequences . A traditional G-scheme focuses on a specific situation and then lets you watch this situation from a distance. The idea is that this makes you realize that some thoughts do not help you further. These thoughts are often not rational and hold you back from achieving what you want. By thinking differently about a situation, your feelings and therefore your behavior changes, resulting in an outcome that is closer to your actual needs and wishes.


Helpful thoughts

To clarify this, you can contrast the automatic thoughts with helpful thoughts. You do this in an extensive G-scheme, as shown here. A form for such a GGGGG scheme is more extensive than a regular GGGGG scheme. If you write down all the automatic thoughts that come to mind and question them critically, you can learn to distinguish between real, factual thoughts and irrational thoughts, which mainly take place in your head.

The core idea

You can often label one of these automatic thoughts as a core thought. That is the thought that feels most important, that predominates or keeps recurring. That’s the automatic thought that really matters. You can replace this thought with a helpful thought. Which thought brings you closer to your need? What thoughts are good for you? Those are helpful thoughts. You can describe what the new, desired behavior looks like. You will then get a better picture. Visualizing the new behavior can make it easier to do. You have already experienced it, so to speak.

Ask for help formulating helpful thoughts

Sometimes a helpful thought is difficult to come up with. Then feel free to seek help in your area from people who know you. They can probably help you formulate a good helping thought. Even if you don’t believe him at first. Helpful thoughts are rational, that is, factual, and positive. It is not about what you should not do or think, but about what you are allowed to think or do. A helpful thought could be, for example: I don’t have to do everything perfectly. Or When I feel tense, I breathe in and out slowly three times and the stress will pass. By holding on to these helpful thoughts in new situations and repeating them over and over again, you can eventually start to believe them and experience new behavior. Then you no longer have to ignore your inner wishes by being guided by negative automatic thoughts. Then you know and feel that you can show yourself as you are. Then the highway has been built and the world is open to you.

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