How To Counter A Negative Automatic Thought
Automatic thoughts are the first things, or thoughts, that come to our mind when something happens. Sometimes, these thoughts happen so quickly we don’t even realize they are happening until the negative thought is stuck in our head, and then we don’t know how to get rid of that negative thought once it’s there.
The easiest thing to do is try to counter it. If you spend a lot of time absorbed in negative thoughts, you are not always going to believe the counter, at first, but with time and practice, you will eventually start to realize the truth in those counters.
I am going to show you very simple counters with examples:
There will be three rows:
Here are the examples below:
- Trigger: I made a mistake at work.
- Automatic Thought: I am probably going to be fired. I always mess up. This is it. I am not good at my job.
- New Thought: I messed up, but mistakes happen. I am going to work through this like I always do.
- Trigger: I got into a fight with my boyfriend.
- Automatic Thought: He’s going to leave me, everyone leaves me.
- New Thought: We have gotten in plenty of fights before. I am catastrophising this. We only fought about who has to put gas in the car, he will not leave me over this.
- Trigger: I got a speeding ticket.
- Automatic Thought: I am going to lose my license.
- New Thought: It’s only one ticket. It’s seriously not the end of the world. I will make a payment arrangement on the fine tomorrow.
That is pretty much all there is too. It is just taking that negative automatic thought, and switching it around, making it logical instead of emotional. It takes a lot of practice. You can even create a notebook, or automatic though log and keep track of your progress.
Samantha is the author of "My Bipolar Mind: You're not alone," she is also a freelance writer, blogger, and mental health advocate who runs and manages her own mental health blog MyBipolarMind.com.