of: Dr. Frank Gunzburg
follows is a 3-step program for looking at your negative thoughts, challenging
the believability of these thoughts, and replacing them with more self-affirming
statements.If you tend toward skepticism, it might be difficult for you to believe
that these techniques are effective. However, these techniques are adapted from
the core of cognitive therapy, a psychotherapeutic healing modality that has proven
effective in helping people that suffer from all kinds of negative thinking in
study after study.Please take your time and work through each step completely.
If you do this, you will amplify the effect of the work that we are about to do.
1: Track Your Thoughts
drive your feelings. When you think about something negative you tend to feel
bad. On the other hand, if you think about something positive, you tend to feel
good. This is simply common sense. Everyone knows this.However, when you are wrapped
up in difficult, negative emotions, it isnt always easy to see what thoughts
are behind your painful feelings. When you have been injured in an affair, this
is often the case. You are so overcome with feelings of betrayal and rage that
you sometimes fail to see what thoughts are behind these feelings.If you feel
like you are having a hard time distinguishing your thoughts from your feelings,
or even one thought from another, thought tracking can be an immense help to you.
Even if you dont seem to have these kinds of problems, this first step will
help you get a good track record of what you are thinking and will allow you the
opportunity to see if there are any consistent patterns to your thoughts.
2: Challenging the Believability of Your Thoughts
that you have a fairly good record of your negative thoughts about the affair
and you have examined various patterns in your thinking, it is time to start challenging
these thoughts.In order to do this, we are going to take various negative thoughts
you had over the last week and put them to a reality test. You can certainly use
this process for thoughts that are coming up for you right now as well. However,
it is useful to start practicing this skill on a thought you already recorded.
Once you hone the skill, you can put it to use at your command.
one of your challenging recurring negative thoughts. The thought that you choose
should bring up some discomfort and negative feelings for you. Our goal in this
part of the exercise will be to undermine that discomfort by disproving the reality
of the thought.Write down the thought you have chosen to work with. Then, ask
yourself the following questions:
How realistic or logical is this thought in the world at large?» Is there
an argument against the thought?» What actual evidence do I have that this
thought is true?» Even if it were true, what would it practically mean for
me and my situation right now?
and answer these questions as objectively as you can.
3: Using Self-Affirmations
is a powerful influence on the way people think, feel, and act. Self-talk is the
stuff we internally say about ourselves all the time. Everyone has a certain amount
of self-talk going on most of the time. We constantly judge ourselves and talk
to ourselves (in our minds) about these judgments.In todays society, the
idea that you can accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative
makes most of us shudder a bit. We are cynical and skeptical enough to believe
that any attempt at encouraging positive thinking in our lives is a losing battle.Nothing
could be further from the truth. Nothing can help you more in your situation than
to remind yourself that you are a worthwhile, lovable person. Of course, we will
temper these self-affirmations with a bit of reality. I am not going to try and
have you convince yourself that you are the single greatest person on the planet
and that you deserve to be the queen or king. It is unlikely you would buy that
anyway. But I am guessing that right now you are feeling more like the lowest
person on the earth, and that isnt a healthy or realistic place for you
I would like for you to do is take the same thought that we worked with in the
last exercise. Do some reality testing on it as you did before. Ask yourself whether
the thought is realistic or logical and whether you can find an argument against
it. See what evidence you have to support the thought, and what would practically
change for you if the thought were true.