In this article, I offer 4 tips to get you started.
It’s always helpful to learn new ways to change and “challenge” thoughts you may be having that aren’t based in reality. We, as humans, tend to allow our emotions and what a circumstance looks like to dictate how we feel about it. However, there are some situations that are far from what our emotions tell us.
How can imbalanced thoughts affect me?
Allowing our emotions to dictate to us how we are to think is like allowing your growling stomach to tell you it’s time to eat, even though you just finished eating. In other words, although our thoughts may seem logical and appropriate, they aren’t always based in reality. As a result, it is up to us to develop skills necessary for making proper decisions and controlling our emotions.
For some people controlling emotions and negative, imbalanced thoughts is as simple as praying and meditating or reading the bible. This is something I tend to do when very stressed, overwhelmed, or uncertain. But for others, controlling emotions and negative thoughts may include self-medication with drugs or alcohol, sex, or other risky behaviors.
Any time there is a lack of coping skills and personal awareness, you are likely to “cope” using unhealthy tools.
Altering Your Perceptions/Thoughts The Right Way
1.) Educate yourself: Self-help books are a favorite of mine. I love suggesting these books for clients who are self-motivated and open to learning more about themselves. Even more, self-learning is self-paced which means whatever is learned will “stick” with clients for a while.
2.) Challenge your thoughts: It’s one thing to tell yourself to “just get over it” or “stop thinking about this.” But it’s another thing to ask yourself if you are obsessing over fact or emotion. If you are obsessing or ruminating over “what-if’s”, you are driving yourself into depression and psychological exhaustion for no reason. Challenge what you are obsessing over and ask yourself if your thoughts are fact or opinion.
3.) Research: Research the situation you are thinking about and determine if you are spending too much time overthinking.
4.) Write thoughts down: It’s important to write down the things you are obsessing or ruminating about. Writing down your thoughts will help relieve your mind of them and examine them more objectively.
5.)Reinforce with fact: If you are struggling with something in your mind and don’t know what to think or how to arrive at truth, look for facts to reinforce your thoughts about a situation. For example, lets say you are obsessing over whether you should purchase a car at this time. Embrace the facts that you are tired of walking to work everyday, you need a car to travel long-distance, and you can afford the down payment.
Above all else, have patience. Altering your thoughts to make them more balanced and based on reality takes time. It’s practice that will help you overcome.
I wish you well
Tamara Hill, MS, NCC, CCTP LPC
Internationally certified trauma therapist