How to identify rationality of our thoughts?
In our daily life, we feel different emotions, some thoughts are running on our mind. These thoughts, these feelings are associated with a particular event, incident. These event can be related with our past, present or future.
E.g. currently there is heavy rain, some people may feel nostalgic, they will remember some happy memories which bring smile on their face or feel sad by remembering bad memories.
We go through such feelings and thoughts. A cycle of thoughts is always on our mind, these thoughts makes us feel a particular emotion and we act according to it. According to us our actions were always right as per situation. They seems right.
A child with anxiety may try to avoid exam by giving excuses. Such as stomache, headache etc. Why? Beacuse it don’t want to get into that situation. He felt it was right to do. But is it really right to think this way or to act this way? How do you decide if it’s useful?
By evaluating that thought. By evaluating the rationality of those thoughts. Albert Ellis, the father of REBT(rational emotive behaviour therapy ), asked some questions to check whether our thoughts are rational. We should ask that questions. These are-
•Is my thought productive?
•Is my thought realistic?
•Is my thinking logical?
•Also, is this thought helping me?
E.g. Many people get angry if someone says something to them. It is actually a emotion but it is preceded by angry thoughts. Carrying out irrational belief called ‘Demand’ says Ellis. What are the thoughts comes in this demand? No one should say that to me.
Everyone should talk to me properly. It is the “should” that makes us angry. Which often leads to quarrels, sometimes fights. At that time, it seems right to do all this because you are insulted, but the consequences are bad. So first we should question those angry thoughts as mentioned above.
For E.g., If someone talking with me in a rude way and that’s the reason I’m also behaving in same manner. But is my thinking, my behaviour takes me into longer run, in a positive way?
Is my thought true? Means, is it realistic for me to make such a demand from someone? No! because I have no control over anyone. I can only influence in a good way.
It is not logical also to demand about what has happened. Is my anger helping me? Or are my angry thoughts helping me? I will feel better for moment but result will not be good.
In this way, whenever negative thoughts come in our mind and we realize that we are doing something wrong, we should calm down for a while, take a deep breath and ask ourselves these questions.
When we understand rationality of thoughts then we can handle the situation in a better way. These questions are your coping cards that you can take anywhere. You can use it.
After all, there is always the consequences of what we do now, so it is always better to look at what is good in the long term than what is good now.