Sometimes we tend to believe our own automatic negative thoughts instead of challenging them and paying attention to the evidence. For example, I am always checking my partner’s phone because I am suspicious that he is cheating on me. I can’t sleep at night because I’m worrying about him being with someone else. My thoughts are completely dominating my emotions and I am not focusing on the evidence in front of me:
1. He frequently demonstrates his love for me with his words and actions
2. He does not have a history of cheating on me or anyone else.
3. He has never broken a promise to me.
4. He has solid values and morals.
5. He’s never been flirtatious with other women and only pays attention to me when we’re out.
So that is an example of taking a step back, looking at the facts, and challenging your own irrational thoughts to make sure that you’re not just going along with them and letting them dictate your emotions. With practice, this becomes easier and easier and you might find that you are much more able to see things realistically rather than anxiously. Does this make sense? What do you think about this coping strategy? Is it something that could be applied to your life to help you manage your worried thoughts a little bit better?
-Ivanna Colangelo, LMFT