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Unhelpful Thinking Styles (5)

In my latest blog about unhelpful thinking I’ve decided to talk about emotional reasoning – this is where you let how you think about things be guided by how you feel about things – ‘I feel bad so it must be bad’, ‘I feel worried therefore it’s definitely a problem.’ It’s very easy to get into this position – especially if you’re the type who tends to be guided more by your heart rather than your head.

Don’t get me wrong – there’s definitely a place for recognising feelings – and having a bit of intuition is useful, but if you let your negative emotions dictate your behaviour too much, then this can cause all sorts of problems – i.e. missed job interviews or avoiding social events.

Emotional reasoning is often worse when you’re feeling low, are anxious or depressed. The negativity from these states can cause you to default to feeling negative about situations and in turn this can cause you to assume the worst and avoid what you’re concerned about.

So how do you stop emotional reasoning? Some basic strategies are to challenge this thinking – asking yourself what facts you have to support how you feel. Another idea is to consider why you might be feeling worried/anxious about something…have you had previous unpleasant experiences that have clouded your view of the situation? Have you been under a lot of stress recently? How is your mood at the moment? How tired are you? Taking a reading of your emotional ‘thermometer’ might simply determine that you’re struggling emotionally and this is impacting how you’re thinking about things.

The good news is that by checking in with your thoughts, feelings and moods it’s possible to become calmer and then think a bit more clearly. You can then be guided by rational thinking rather than emotions. But if this isn’t the case and you can’t put your finger on why you’re feeling or thinking about things the way you do then you may need some additional support to uncover what’s going on for you, so please get in touch if you’d like further help with this.

emotional reasoning