Identify Faulty Thinking to Relieve Emotions

Emotional pain is very real.

, people who were given Tylenol (acetaminophen) before recalling a painful rejection reported less emotional pain than people who were given a placebo.

Emotional distress distorts our thinking and decision making skills. But we can combat these bad effects by retraining how we think. If you can define faulty, irrational thinking and change it into more constructive thinking, you’re entire well-being will improve.

Let’s examine some faulty thinking and determine a better way of thinking:


1. “I should toughen up and dismiss my emotional distress.”


Constructive thinking
– A person experiences distress because something is not right, so it’s important to think about the situation in a constructive way and understand what happened in order to avoid future problems as well as identify how you can move past this experience.

Faulty thinking – Replaying the same thoughts and memories without gaining any new insights only creates a deeper hurt and can become a set pattern of thinking that is hard to dispel. It also releases stress hormones into your body thereby increasing the risk of heart disease.

2. “I failed, so I give up.”


Constructive thinking
– Consider what you could have done differently, perhaps getting more facts before you act or planning and preparing what you want to do and say ahead of time. Then try again using what you’ve just learned until you get it right.

Faulty thinking – Feeding your sense of helplessness by not owning up to your part, attributing it to bad luck or blaming someone else.

3. “I feel guilty so I must keep making amends.”


Constructive thinking
– Guilt alerts you that you’ve harmed someone so you can set things straight with that person. Put yourself in their shoes and feel what they’ve felt before you apologize, then your making amends will touch a responsive cord and you’ll receive their forgiveness.

Faulty thinking – An unfeeling apology or excessively apologizing are two extremes to be avoided, because these damage your relationship and hinder your enjoyment of life.

4. “Telling myself that I’m lovable doesn’t work for me.”


Constructive thinking
– Recognize and reinforce the qualities that you do have, e.g. “I’m a caring, loyal, hard-working person.”

Faulty thinking – If you don’t believe you’re lovable, you won’t be able to talk yourself into feeling it. So the positive affirmation, “I’m lovable” will only make you feel worse.

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