We are now on the third post related to The Irrational Thought. If you need to catch up, you can back up and start with Part I and Part II
We finished Part II with identifying and accepting the now rational thought and accompanying emotion. At this time you can process it. Continuing with my example, you take the thought, I don’t have as many friends as I would like, and ask yourself if you have any control in the situation. You can’t make people like you, so that element of control does not lie in your court. What are you doing to make friends? Are you exhausting all options? Are you open when you meet people? Look at all that you have responsibility for: your thoughts, attitudes, actions and words. Address the areas you can affect.
After looking at the things you can do to change your situation, that are legal and healthy, notice the emotion. Maybe after realizing the action steps you can take to make friends, the emotion might not be as strong. Sometimes when we see we have some control, our emotion will ease. Whatever degree of emotion exists, let yourself feel it. Remind yourself that you have steps you can take, and it is sad not to have as many friends as you would like, cry if want to, take a deep breath and start taking action.
To recap:
1) Identify your irrational thought and emotion.
2) Accept the thought and emotion without judgement.
3) Let it go.
4) If you want to process it, determine if there is anything rational about the thought. Identify the supporting facts.
5) Rephrase the irrational thought to reflect the factual parts of it.
6) Identify the emotion attached to the based-in-reality thought.
7) Accept the thought and emotion without judgement.
8) Determine what you can do or what’s in your control that is both legal and heathy to address the thought.
As with most processes, this isn’t something you do once and then never again for the same issue. The thoughts and emotions will come back again. Each time they do, implement the process. With repetition the thoughts and emotions become less intense and more manageable.