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Irrational Thoughts

When you subject yourself to triggers, or influences that ignite emotional responses that encourage you to drink, use drugs, gamble, engage in inappropriate sex, Internet, porn, shopping, etc., you put yourself in harm's way. Before you can learn to avoid these forces you will need to understand what blocks your decision-making abilities and stops you making the smart choice.

There are a large number of cognizant (conscious) and subconscious (subliminal) impediments that can block decision-making.

Forces that block decision-making

1. You may block your ability to make clear decisions if you are not in touch with your stressful feelings or emotions.

2. You may experience depression, anxiety and lack of hope, self-doubt or other negative emotions often that lead you to self-defeating behaviors or lack of action.

3. You may feel a powerful need to depend on something or someone, which can interrupt your logical thinking.

4. You may have developed an unreasonable and irrational view of yourself. You may not feel as though you are capable of achieving success because of this negative view of you. Having a negative view of self can lead to self-medicating.

5. You may experience "wishful thinking" habits, e.g. striving for perfectionism. You may have developed an "all-or-nothing" thinking habit, which gets in the way of your ability to think realistically.

6. Avoidance or procrastination can lead to poor decision-making, especially linked to failures in the past.

7. Impulsive behaviors or those who are consumed with emotions may rush to make decisions. Impulsive decision-making often leads to bad choices.



Confront Irrational Thoughts

Now you know some of the psychological forces that block your rational decision-making, it is time to take the first step to confront irrational thinking to help you overcome stress, panic attacks, and depression.

It is critical that you learn how to brazen out or tackle irrational thinking related to anxiety, depression and panic attacks as it affects your thinking, and can lead you to indulge in your addiction. Irrational beliefs can be categorized into five classes.

Confront Irrational Thoughts

1. Self-defeating beliefs that interfere with common drives and goals

2. Dogmatic, highly rigid beliefs that lead you to have unrealistic wishes and preferences

3. Antisocial beliefs that lead you into destruction of socialization

4. Unrealistic beliefs which may falsely be used to describe reality

5. Contradictory beliefs which originate from false principles or premises



Change Negative Thinking Patterns and Negative Self-Talk

In the next worksheet we will instruct you on how to change distorted thinking and negative self-talk to positive thinking - and internal conversations (self-talk).

Worksheet - Change Negative Thinking Patterns and Negative Self-Talk

Write out ways to continue your quest for greater self-awareness. Consider what you can do to continue your quest. e.g., rely on a support system. Assess your goals, dreams, attitudes, feelings, limitations and beliefs regularly.

Recognize - keep track of your automatic thoughts and challenge them. Keep track of and challenge your involuntary inner dialogue that occurs, particularly during stressful situations.

Your answer:

 

Practice

Use your critical thinking skills - clarify your emotional reactions to an event. "Is my reaction logical? Is my reaction based on evidence?"

When you look at the situations, consider optional explanations and other perspectives. Try to replace negative thinking with positive thoughts. View criticism or challenges as windows of opportunity for change rather than blame or condemnation.

Worksheet - Write a journal of your irrational thoughts

Construct a plan of action to conquer your irrational thoughts and monitor your progress daily.

For example, some people when they feel happy will fear the emotion, and will feed their addiction to escape the feeling of happiness. Others may feel emotional conflicts emerging, and rather than find out what is going on and face the emotions, they will turn to gambling, alcohol, drugs, or other escape mechanism. Emotions are not scary. They are human feelings that we all express. Intense emotions, however, produce irrational thoughts most times. Rather than escaping in a glass of wine, taking a pill or hitting the casinos, you must face the emotions. Use self-talk to find out what the emotions has to say. Record your findings.

Your answer:

 

ABCs of Stopping Unhappy or Gloomy Thoughts

Now that you have completed the worksheets and practices above, it is time to move ahead. In this section, we will help you learn the ABCs of stopping unhappy or gloomy thoughts. This will help you identify the amount of times negative thoughts and feelings occur. Your goal is to keep a journal of your negative thoughts and feelings. Record your thoughts and feelings in your journal when you notice you feel upset following an event or situation.

Worksheet - Your Journal

A. Facts and Events: Write out the facts surrounding a situation or event that upset you, or write out the thoughts that provoke you to indulge in your addiction.

Consider these thoughts carefully. How do they affect you? How can you reprogram the thoughts to more appeasing thoughts that do not inspire the "need" to escape?

Your answer:

 

B. Write out how you felt.

Your answer:

 

C. Debate - Dispute or debate any statement (s) that is illogical or not objective.

Your answer:

 

D. Use Self-Talk - Write out the things you will tell yourself about the event.

Your answer:

 

E. Analyze your future. State clearly how you want to feel in the future in this sort of situation.

Your answer:

 

Summary

You have learned some useful CBT Techniques to guide you towards conquering your addictions. In next article, you will learn how to search fearlessly through your moral inventory to improve your life. You will be asked to continue the CBT techniques to complete your steps toward conquering negative thoughts and negative self-talk.

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