Want to be less Pessimistic or Negative? Try the Self-Coaching Method of Thought Disputation

Pessimism could be at the heart of you feeling “stuck” or unhappy with your life.

Negative thoughts drain you of energy and keep you from enjoying life. The more you give in to your negative thoughts, the stronger they become and the more they become a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Like the  story of a someone making a snow ball and climbing to tall hill and letting the ball and gravity take its natural course. The small snow ball rolling down hill, starts to roll and becomes bigger and faster the farther it goes down, until it crashes into something at the bottom.

That’s what one small negative thought can turn into: a huge, speeding ball of  pessimism. On the contrary, a small positive thought can have the same effect of producing a positive climate for discussions and problem solving. If you any proof of this ,just reflect on some of the recent staff meetings you have had.  I’d like to share with you a cognitive  development technique  that can you turn around this pattern of pessimistic thinking.

Using Thought Disputation (ABCDE Method)to overcome negative thinking.

Coping via thought disputation is a specific technique derived from cognitive therapy for negativity and pessimistic thinking that can lead to frustration and feeling in a rut. The method urges us to challenge our own pessimistic thoughts. The technique can be done in a variety of ways. It can be done informally in a discussion with someone else, written down, or simply done in your head. The guidelines developed by Dr.Albert Ellis are condense below and offer a framework for approaching your problem with negative and irrational thinking.

1)  A–Write down nature of the adversity or problem that you are facing.

2) B--Identify any negative beliefs triggered by this problem.

3) C--Record the consequences of the problem, how is it impacting your relationships and your ability to find positive energy to function in a more effective and effect ways in  living.

4) D-Dispute the negative belief, challenging it, thinking of other possible reasons for the problem and ways to overcome its impact on your quality of life..

5) E--Consider the more optimistic explanations of your problem to Energize you and lift your spirits, so that you become less anxious and more hopeful.

To be sure, the hardest part is disputation and to challenge your own negative thoughts. The act of disputing is taking the role of “devils advocate” and looking for evidence to disprove your own negative thinking. Disputing negative thoughts and being gentle on yourself leads to new patterns of thinking and increases your self-compassion.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Here are some additional tips for getting started:

-What specific evidence do I have for this negative belief?

-Even if my belief is true, what are the implications? Put another way, what is the worst possible thing that could happen?

-What alternative explanations are there for your recent behavior?

-What is the best possible thing that could happen and how can I make that happen ?

-On a 1-10 scale how committed are you to change your situation?

-What do I honestly think is the most likely outcome?

-In what ways is this negative belief pattern or playing victim useful to you?

-What payoffs do I get from continuing to support these negative thoughts ?

-What do I plan to do to address the Problem?


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