Conducting a thought autopsy; examining thoughts for truth with evidence.

Today has been one of those days where I feel drained, and know I have been busy, but still don’t feel I have much to show for it.

That could be because I spent the majority on the computer. I finished off three articles, did some photo editing, and had lunch with Lynn and a friend. Actual movement wise, I managed to knock off some laundry, helped J with her computer, and finally took photos of our local elementary school Christmas pageant this evening.

Looking over my day, I know it was somewhat productive even though it definitely does not feel it. The problem is today has been one of those days where no matter what I have accomplished, it wouldn’t feel like enough.

Without actually stopping and examining my thoughts for accuracy, the negativity can drag me into a downward spiral without much of a fight.

Stopping thoughts and examining them is a skill I picked up in one of the many support groups I have attended over the last 5 years, and it is a skill that I have begun using without a second-thought. It is a skill that has helped me out considerably when dealing with negative emotions.

The tool does not remove the negative thoughts I have though. It just allows me to examine them for accuracy by looking at the facts that both support and disprove the thought at hand.

An example:

Thought: I wasted the day, and got nothing done. I suck.

Falling into the thought and believing it is easy to do. What happens next is the challenge. Press pause on the thought, and ask ‘okay, what proves this thought?’ If you are like me, I’m sure you can find more than enough “proof” to confirm the thought. The next is harder, ‘what disproves the thought?’

As I’ve already pointed out for today, I did not get “nothing” done. I dug into the laundry. I did stuff for work. I kept busy.

It doesn’t change that I still have that thought, it changes my perception in the thought. In this case, I know my brain is sending me thoughts that are false information. It may not take away the negative feelings around the thought, but having this evidence makes it a lot easier to work through it.

I know everyone is different and this skill won’t work for everyone, especially at first. It still challenges me some days, but it makes a huge difference in my life.

I hope others can find this skill as useful as I have.

Kevin

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