Irrational vs. Rational Thoughts
By recognizing the difference between thoughts that are irrational and thoughts that are rational, we can train our brains to replace harmful, irrational thinking with thinking that is healthy and rational.
Examples of Irrational Thoughts:
- I can not get through this.
- I'm stupid for doing that.
- Things always go wrong.
- I should have done better.
- I am a failure.
Examples of Rational Thoughts:
- I don't like this, but I will get through it.
- I did something that wasn't smart, but it's okay.
- Sometimes things go wrong, but other times things are good.
- I wish that things went better, but I tried my best.
- Sometimes I fail, but that helps me learn.
1. Catching Negative Thoughts
Every time you have an irrational thought, recognize and acknowledge it. Irrational thoughts can come in the form of seeing things as one way or another with no in between, internalizing everything that goes wrong, choosing to only see the negative side of a situation, and assuming the worst scenario. You may choose to familiarize yourself with these thoughts by writing them down.
2. Acceptance of Thoughts
After becoming familiar with your negative thoughts, send kindness and acceptance to them. It is completely normal to have these thoughts, so you should not immediately shut them down.
3. Challenging Thoughts
Once you have accepted your irrational thoughts, you can begin to reconstruct them. With each thought, ask yourself how you would respond if a friend spoke about themselves that way. A good solution to combat these negative views would be to offer other possible outcomes, other reasons that something turned out differently than hoped for, focus on your strengths, and replacing negative terms with positive ones.
4. Take a Break from Negative Thoughts
If you allow yourself a certain time period with your negative thoughts, your mind will process them properly and you will no longer need to focus on them as much. After your designated time analyzing this negativity, take a break from this focus and move on with your day.
5. Seek Professional Support
If you are unable to manage your thoughts or you find that they are interfering with your daily life and wellbeing, you should seek professional support through counselling and therapy.