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Top 7 Tips To Untwist Your Thinking Using Cognitive Therapy
By Raymond Lee
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When you feel bad, your thinking becomes negative. This is the ABC of emotion. ‘A’ stands for the Actual event, ‘B’ for your Beliefs about it and ‘C’ for the Consequences you experience because of their beliefs. If you can somehow prevent erroneous negative beliefs from forming around an actual event, you have gone a long way toward protecting yourself form the unnecessary negative emotions that are sure to follow from such distorted thinking. I recommend seven tips to protect yourself from negative, distorted thinking. These tips work for many unpleasant experiences, but let’s use as an example a particularly unpleasant experiences, but let’s use as an example a particularly unpleasant divorce. In the throes of a nasty divorce you might be tempted to believe many of the charges your ex levels against you: You’re selfish, uncaring and vindictive, and not only that, you are lousy in bed. If you buy into this picture of yourself, the consequences might well be low self-esteem and guilt, not to mention severe depression. Cognitive therapy tries to change the Bs – your beliefs – so you do not experience the Cs – negative consequences. Here’s how to cope.
- Define Your Terms
You had no ideas your ex was having affairs. You were blind. Define blind. The dictionary says “completely without sight.” That wasn’t you. You saw that your ex was withdrawn from you and was spending an enormous amount of time “working late.” You weren’t blind, just too trusting of someone you had every reason to believe was trustworthy.
- Solve The Problem
You blew up when you came home early and found your ex, who moved out months ago, unexpectedly in your house. Since that ugly scene, you have been thinking that your “terrible temper” has turned you into a “monster.” Possibly, but the problem in this case is not your temper. The real problem is that your ex still has keys to your house. Maybe it is time to change the locks.
- Take A Survey
Your ex insists that your refusal to take the kids for an extra day after a holiday weekend proves you are vindictive. You maintain that you are open to a rescheduling time with the children, but not when the real reason is to allow your ex to jet off to a luxurious resort with a new lover. You feel justified, but after a screaming argument on the phone, your confidence is shaken. Perhaps you are a vindictive creep. Now’s the time to call a few friends and solicit their views. Chances are they will say you are justified.
- Talk To Yourself As You Would To A Best Friend
Suppose a friend were getting divorced and felt like a selfish, uncaring, vindictive failure. What would you say? Probably something like: You are not a failure simply because your relationship ended. Many marriages end in divorce, and many winning teams lose a game now and then. It is rough to endure a divorce, and break-ups never bring out the best in people, but I have known you for years, and you are a warm, kind, caring person.
- Examine The Evidence
Take in the big picture. Write it down if you have to. Your ex says you are lousy in bed, but are you really? Until you learned of your ex’s unfaithfulness, the two of you had a great sexual relationship. Of course, after your heart was broken, you did not have any energy for sex, especially with the person who rejected you. That is not being lousy in bed. That is a normal reaction to betrayal.
- Look For Partial Successes
Instead of thinking that your marriage was a complete failure, consider the many ways that it was successful: You took turns putting each other through school, and now you both have much more fulfilling careers than you had when you met. You have two great kids, and the problems that led to your breakup have given you valuable new insights into the kind of person you will look for in your next relationship.
See how this negative thinking about yourself in this one area stacks up against your behaviour in other areas. Your ex called you selfish for wanting to keep the house, but are you really? If you were truly selfish, you wouldn’t give to charity, wouldn’t help friends in need and wouldn’t share credit for your group’s accomplishments at work. Test your reactions the next time a charitable solicitation arrives or a friend calls with a problem or your group’s efforts are recognized. If you write a check, offer to lend a hand or praise a co-worker, you are not entirely selfish. You may not be as magnanimous as you like to be, but you are not the ogre your ex says you are.
Raymond Lee is one of the foremost experts in the health and fitness industry and is the Founder of Bodyfixes Group specializing in body health, muscle development and dieting. He is currently the author of the latest edition of "Neck Exercises and Workouts." Visit http://www.bodyfixes.com for more information.
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Article Submitted On: January 31, 2008