Here is a cognitive behavioral therapy technique that Byron Katie, Dr. Amen and others use to help you decide whether or not to believe negative thoughts:
- Is the thought true?
- Can I absolutely know that it’s true?
- How do I react when I believe that thought?
- Who would I be without that thought? Or how would I feel if I didn’t have the thought?
Once you have answered the questions, turn the original negative thought around to its opposite positive acclamation. For example, “I’ll never be able to change” becomes “I will be able to change.” Then ask yourself the same questions. You’ll find that this exercise results in seeing your negative thoughts differently so that you can take affirmative body action.
This is an example of cognitive behavior therapy or CBT, a very broad classification of psychotherapies, which accents the role of thinking in determining what we do and feel.
More Answers from Bill Salt, MD