Many of us carry around unhelpful patterns of thinking. Being aware of your patterns then challenging your thoughts can help you break these patterns. Here’s a couple of ways including doing “The Work” exercise by Byron Katie, to get you started.
Consider a particularly unhelpful or stressful thought and write it down.
Challenging this thought can often help us to change the thought, which in turn helps us change the way we feel.
Answer the questions below to assess your thought:
- Is there substantial evidence for my thought?
- Is there evidence contrary to my thought?
- Am I trying to interpret the situation without all the evidence?
- What would a friend think about this situation?
- If I look at the situation positively, how is it different?
- Will this matter a year from now? How about five years from now?
Once you’ve asked yourself these questions, try to come up with a more balanced view of your unhelpful thought.
A simple 4 question tool by Byron Katie
An even more simple tool is The Work, by Byron Katie.
She suggests we ask these simple questions about a thought or belief that brings negative emotions:
The 4 questions.
Q1 Is it true? (Yes or No)
Q2 Can you absolutely know it is true? (Yes or No)
Q3 How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
- What emotions arise when you believe that thought?
- What images of past and future do you see when you believe the thought?
- How do you treat yourself and others when you believe the thought?
Q4 Who would you be without that thought?
The next step in The Work is to create a “turnaround”
An example of a negative thought or belief might be “She dislikes me”.
Turn arounds include-:
“I dislike me”
“I dislike her”
“She doesn’t dislike me”
“She likes me”.
Contemplate which statement is true or truer than the original one.
How did you get on? I find ‘The Work’ incredibly powerful.
It takes courage and honesty to do The Work. You’ve got this! Let me know in the comments how you get on. Need more help? Coaching is a great approach for getting you from here to there! Book a discovery call today.