Part of the work I do with clients is to help them evaluate their thinking to see if it’s realistic and helpful. We look at the evidence to see how true a thought is and often discover that the most upsetting thoughts are not 100% true. Then, based on the evidence, we can formulate a new way of looking at the situation and a create a new, more balanced thought that helps clients feel better. Sometimes, their thinking is true, so then what do we do?
I have to appear for jury duty tomorrow morning at about 7:00 AM. For many reasons, I can honestly say I don’t want to go. This thought is true, no doubt about it. Other thoughts I have include: It’s too early in the morning- true; I have a lot of work to do- true; I need the time to study and grow my practice- true. I really don’t have time for this, and when I think that it makes me feel annoyed and frustrated and defeated. Is it helpful? Will it help me through my day and help me to feel the way that I want to feel? No, not so much.
Another aspect of this to look at is – What are the conclusions I am drawing from this thinking? I think it’s something like I won’t ever get my work done and my business will be effected by the disruption. And that it’s not fair, I have enough on my plate at the moment. So these thoughts maybe more up for evaluation. Is it 100% true that I won’t get my work done? Not really, I was relishing a slower week to get caught up, but even if I am busy with jury duty for a few days, I will get things done that need to be done. And as for fair, does that thinking help? No. Are there other people who have more of a hardship to get to jury duty than me, yes.
These small changes in my thinking are helping me to keep things in perspective and power through the day. Ask yourself if your thought is true. There maybe some truth to it and some evidence against it, be honest with yourself. And if you find that it’s true, then ask is it helpful? And if not, then ask if there is another way to look at this that can help me cope with the situation more effectively.
Let me know if you want help in learning to identify and evaluate your upsetting thoughts.