Cognitive distortions have a way of causing havoc in our lives - if we allow them to.
This sort of unhelpful, ''stinkin' thinkin'' can be undone, but it requires effort, patience and lots of practice - every day!
If you want to put an end to these irrational thinking patterns, you can start by trying out the 'STOPP Strategy'. Learning this one essential skill can help you to take control of your emotions and your life.
Watch the video or download this podcast audio and take a few minutes to read through the steps below and then, why not? Start practising!
Here are the STOPP Steps:
STOP: Don’t act impulsively. Wait.
TAKE A BREATH Slowly breathe in and out a few times.
OBSERVE What am I focusing on? What am I thinking about? What is it that I'm reacting to? What am I feeling in my body?
PERSPECTIVE Consider the bigger picture. Is this fact or is it opinion? Could there be a different way of looking at this? Consider what someone else would say about it? How does this affect other people? What advice would I offer a friend in the same situation? How important is this situation right now?
PRACTISE WHAT WORKS Consider the consequences. What is the best thing to do? Do whatever will help the most!
How to put STOPP into practice:
Practise the first two steps frequently for a few days - several times every day.
Read through the steps regularly.
Practise STOPP by working through each of the steps several times a day, every day... even when you don't need it.
Start using it for minor upsets - when you notice yourself responding emotionally to something that's happening.
Over time, you'll find that you can use it for more major and distressing situations. Like any new skill or habit, it will become automatic - with practise.