"Fixing" distorted thoughts isn't like solving math problems; they don't have only one answer. Make the process of managing your thoughts a lifelong habit.
- Examine the situation. Be the detective of your life, try to find out the facts of the situation, determine what is real and what is not. If you're not sure what the reality of the situation is, ask others that you trust.
- Identify the emotions that you feel about a situation. If you know how you feel, you will be able to sort your feelings out from the facts.
- Tone down your reaction. Sometimes our distorted thoughts cause exaggerated emotions. This can lead to words and actions that either make the situation worse or create additional problems.
- Think through what is happening so you can make a wise decision. If you need help with this we have some pointers on how to sort things out to make good decisions.
Here is an example:
- Identify your distorted thought: "My crush likes my best friend—I will never love or be loved again."
- Identify your feelings: "I feel angry, sad, embarrassed, lost, hurt…"
- Don't overreact: "I want to scream and yell at him/her, but for now I need to avoid confronting or texting especially when I am really angry or sad."
- Look for realistic solutions: "I either need to be open to dating someone else, or give myself time to heal and move on to better things."
Distorted thinking is a lifelong challenge for all human beings. The first step in changing distorted thoughts is to be mindful and recognize a thought as being irrational. So train yourself to look realistically at what is going on, get in touch with your true feelings, and come up with realistic expectations in order to help keep you on track. One of the best self-help skills as you go through life is to learn is to train your mind to be positive rather than concentrating on the problems that you encounter.