Thoughts, Feelings, Behavior

Many times people come to therapy because they don't like the way they are feeling. It can be important to understand that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are connected! Many times our bad feelings are generated from automatic negative thoughts. We have automatic thoughts (thoughts that immediately follow a trigger) all day long and it's worth taking time to examine them. 

An example of a trigger could be making a mistake at work. We then have the automatic thought, "I'm going to get fired. I'm terrible at this job." This leads one to feel worried and anxious. These thoughts could actually lead to poor performance at work because the person is so worried about making mistakes instead of performing their best. This leads to more thoughts of, "I'm no good at this, they're going to fire me soon." Which leads to more feelings of insecurity and anxiety...and on and on. 

Sometimes we may be caught in the emotion of the situation, without realizing the thoughts we are having that are contributing to the situation. Once we are aware of our thinking, we can use several strategies that help us neutralize the negative feelings we are having. When we realize we are having automatic negative thoughts we can try something different. Like in the above example, thinking, "Everyone makes mistakes. Things will get better and I'll figure out how to solve this problem." This leaves us feeling more neutral/positive about the situation instead of anxious and worried. The good news is, our thoughts are just thoughts! They are not always true or right, and creating some distance between ourselves and our thoughts can be very helpful.