There are many anxiety inducing patterns often called cognitive distortions or thought traps. These are ways of thinking that seem true but are in fact not reasonable, realistic or relevant to the situation.
Noticing when we are using thought traps and countering them is an important part of traditional CBT-exercises that also can reduce symptoms of anxiety.
A cognitive distortion is active in our minds when we experience an upsetting event and we think about it in these ways.
Last weeks’ posts have been about how to challenge cognitive distortions through 3 steps:
Step 1: Identify the problem and its magnitude
Step 2: Examine the evidence of the problem creating thoughts
Step 3: Create alternative rational and more self-supportive thoughts
Today’s post is about investigating the realism of problematic thoughts by asking others as a method.
The method is about identifying 3 to 5 people that you trust and that seem to have a sound perspective and experiences in this area and ask them about their experiences and how they think about the specific problem to determine how rational, realistic and sound your perspective is.
A common unrealistic thought is to think that in a sound friendship or romantic relationship there should never be conflicts or fights and that one should not go to bed angry at another person.
Of course, how destructively one fights and constructively resolve conflict is important.
To get a more realistic perspective would be to ask people that seem to have sound relationships about the presence of conflicts.
More about this next week.