Though facing problems is a healthy and natural part of life, many of us create struggles in our head that aren’t even real; making easy situations difficult and wasting energy on unnecessary worry.
Something that’s common in the CBT world is the AFEAD approach, which patients are taught to use when facing a problem or rather their perception of what the problem is.
I love this because it’s a simple and memorable way of coaching your way to a resolution, or at least a more realistic perspective, rather than being at the mercy of unhelpful thinking patterns.
The next time the negative thoughts and emotions make themselves known, try asking yourself these questions:
ALTERNATIVES: Could you look at this problem from another angle?
FRIEND: What would you say to a friend in this situation?
EVIDENCE: Can you find evidence for, and against seeing things this way? (Always do ‘evidence for’ first)
ADVANTAGES: What advantages are there to thinking this way?
DISADVANTAGES: What disadvantages are there to thinking this way?
The more you use this, the more you’ll learn to question your own thought processes and perspective, rather than assuming the worst.
And more of often than not, you’ll find that there was never any problem at all!