When feeling a bit trapped and emotionally low the following questions may help to put things into perceptive.
Pause, take a breath, and don’t react automatically.
- What am I reacting to?
- What is it that’s really pushing my buttons here?
- What is it that I think is going to happen here?
- What’s the worst (and best) that could happen? What’s most likely to happen?
- Am I getting things out of proportion?
- How important is this really? How important will it be in 6 months’ time?
- What harm has actually been done?
- Am I expecting something from this person or situation that is unrealistic?
- Am I overestimating the danger?
- Am I underestimating my ability to cope?
- Am I using that negative filter? Those gloomy specs? Is there another way of looking at it?
- What advice would I give to someone else in this situation?
- Am I spending time ruminating about the past or worrying about the future? What could I do right now that would help me feel better?
- Am I putting more pressure on myself, setting up expectations of myself that are almost impossible? What would be more realistic?
- Am I mind-reading what others might be thinking?
- Am I believing I can predict the future?
- Is there another way of looking at this?
- What advice would I give someone else in this situation?
- Am I putting more pressure on myself?
- Just because I feel bad, doesn’t mean things really are bad.
- Am I jumping to conclusions about what this person meant? Am I mis-reading between the lines? Is it possible that they didn’t mean that?
- Am I exaggerating the good aspects of others, and putting myself down? Or am I exaggerating the negative and minimising the positives? How would someone else see it? What’s the bigger picture?
- Things aren’t either totally white or totally black – there are shades of grey. Where is this on the spectrum?
- This is just a reminder of the past. That was then, and this is now. Even though this memory makes me feel upset, it’s not actually happening again right now.
- What do I want or need from this person or situation? What do they want or need from me? Is there a compromise?
- What would be the consequences of responding the way I usually do?
- Is there another way of dealing with this? What would be the most helpful and effective action to take? (for me, for the situation, for the other person)
When you have run through the questions and used your critical thought functions, notice if you feel different somehow?
Sometimes when we stop and think about things using both rational and emotional minds we can come up with wiser choices.
You are the master of your mind, don’t let it master you xx