Analyze Thyself: The ABC Method And Thought Journals

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• To rewrite our negative thought patterns, We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

• We can use the ABCDE acronym (activating event, belief, consequence, disputation, and new event) and explore the stories we’re telling in a thought journal. We can decide whether a new alternative is a good one according to its accuracy, helpfulness, and congruence with our values.

• Once you’ve identified your current thoughts, ask if there’s a different way to think about things, and how you can bring that idea to life with concrete action. Seek out evidence for a new belief, practice self-compassion, and go into learning mode, asking questions instead of making statements.

• Negativity can be relieved by shifting perspectives and creating psychological distance. Remember that pessimism, negativity, and gloomy nihilism are all coping mechanisms and once served a purpose. But right now, we can choose to cope with adversity in different, healthier ways (and there always will be adversity!)

• Create spatial, temporal, and psychological distance from distressing thoughts, ask what others might do in our situation (role-switching), and turn your mind to concrete action instead of asking why. Focus on a small, concrete detail in the present and ask what you can do. Avoid identifying problems without seeking solutions—i.e., complaining!

• When we are stuck in intense emotions, we can try the ACT technique of defusion. Imagine that your Mind is something separate from you and that you can watch it.

• Remember that you are not your thoughts; you are just having thoughts. Make your thoughts earn their keep!

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