Challenging thoughts: How do you make sure that thoughts help you once you know them? So that they don't make your pain even worse?
When you write down your thoughts for a while and 'follow' them that way, you will probably come across certain thoughts more often. These can be all kinds of thoughts, but common thoughts of people who are in pain for a longer period of time are: This will never go away', 'no one really gets me' or 'I don't want it all that way anymore'.
You can imagine that these kinds of thoughts don't help you. How do you bend them?
An accessible way to challenge your thoughts is to ask questions about it:
- What evidence is there for and against my thought?
- Does this thought help me further?
- What would I say to a friend who has this thought?
By taking a thought, asking these questions about the thought, and writing down the answer, you will find that there is more room to look at your problem in a different way.
When you have done this, you can write down a new, helping thought. It doesn't necessarily have to be super positive, but it has to be right.
Suppose we take the thought: "There's no point in life anymore". If we look at the evidence for and against, someone might say: It's no use because I don't want to have pain all the time, but life does make sense because I still enjoy many of the things I do and wouldn't want to miss my family. The thought doesn't help me any further, because I want to stay here and certainly wouldn't want to and couldn't make an end of my life. If a friend had this thought, I would try to cheer him up and say that he or she is worth it. A helping thought would be: Life is valuable to me, although it is not always easy.Pain and Negative Thoughts: Challenge