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 using cost-benefit analysis as a method.
This method is about motivation rather than facts by listing the advantages and disadvantages of feelings, thoughts, and behaviours.
A cost-benefit analysis will help to figure out what one is gaining – how will this help me – as well as the price paid – how will this harm me – to come to a conclusion about which side outweighs the other.
More about this next week.