I actively use the writing practice. In this article we'll talk about effective technique that is called “Diary of automatic thoughts". Systematic keeping of such a diary and the analysis of records with a psychologist helps in understanding yourself, stabilize the emotional state, improving the quality of life.
for helping a diary of automatic thoughts?
- panic attacks;
- fear of social contact;
- other anxiety disorders;
- feelings of irritation, anger;
- feelings of guilt, shame;
- emotions associated with low self-esteem;
- depression, apathy, easy and mild depression;
- other uncomfortable feelings and condition.
How to keep a diary of thoughts and emotions?
Start the notebook. More convenient to use landscape position of a sheet or a reversal. Also a diary can be maintained in electronic format.
Divide the sheet into 6 columns.
date and time. In this column write down when there are uncomfortable emotions and States.
Situation. In this column, write down what situation has caused unpleasant experiences. For example, the chief raised his voice. Or husband is late from work. Or daughter does not respond to a phone call. Our brain is so constituted that he reacts not only to real-life situations. But to the imagination, and memories. All this is recorded in column “situation”. The 4th column. If the indicator is even slightly reduced,
Automatic thought. Is our assessment of the situation. Such thoughts can be decorated in a word or phrase. They can appear in the form of images. Automatic-unconscious. It occurs in the head parallel with the main process of reflection. For example, tomorrow public speech. A person plans it, thinking what questions may ask participants in what to dress, how best to get to the venue. Everything seems to be ordinary and clear. But! Somehow, in some reflection, he feels fear. Along with the planning of speech may have the following thoughts: what if I forget? What if I embarrass myself? And suddenly I criticize? These thoughts in the focus of the diary! The appearance of uncomfortable feelings, ask yourself: what do I think? What a thought (perhaps an image) caused them?
Emotion. In this column recorded emotions (feelings, States), which give you discomfort. It may be anxiety, fear, panic, sadness, anger, guilt, shame. Here recording conditions such as apathy, depression, sadness. Appreciate the emotion (the feeling state) on a 10-point scale. For example, for the scales anxiety score of 0 – complete peace of mind, 10 points – panic. Between them can be emotions such as excitement, restlessness, anxiety.
Adaptive response. In this column, analyze the idea. This will help you the answers to the questions. How realistic is it? How it helps in achieving your goals? How improves the quality of life? What arguments have confirmed, and which refute this idea? What is the alternative explanation? What alternative thoughts/conclusions are possible in this situation? What is it worst, best and most realistic outcomes? Will you be able to survive it? What would happen if so and will believe in the automatic thought? What happens if you change your mind?
Result. In this column estimate the intensity of the uncomfortable feelings on a scale from 0 to 10. Compare with the indicators of the 4th column. If the intensity wanes a little bit – headed in the right key!
the table looks like this:
In the process of keeping a journal, you'll notice one feature. At different times. In different situations you may have the same automatic thoughts. For example, the idea “but if I disgrace myself,” appears before public speaking, before meeting with boyfriend/girlfriend, and before you resume writing. In the next articles we will talk about why this is so.