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Thinking with your feelings. (Emotional reasoning)

Dr Elizma van der Smit. May 2019

· Mind

This is when you believe negative feelings without ever questioning them. Emotional reasoning refers to the acceptance of one’s emotions as fact. It can be described as “I feel it; therefore, it must be true.” Of course, we know this isn’t a reasonable belief, but it is a common one, nonetheless.

Examples:

  •  I feel scared, therefor there must be real danger. 
  • I feel stupid, therefor this must be true. 
  • because you feel like a failure you are a failure.
  • Despite having in various ways demonstrated that you’re as worthwhile as anyone else, you remain convinced that you’re somehow worthless—for you can’t overcome core feelings of worthlessness.
  • You can’t help feeling fat, though your doctor and those around you tell you that your weight lies comfortably within the normal range. You actually know this, and still...
  • In your relationship, you struggle mightily with feelings of jealousy. You can’t resist accusing your partner of infidelity, even though they’ve shown nothing but devotion to you and you have no plausible evidence that you've been betrayed.

This type of thinking can be severe and may manifest as obsessive compulsion. For example, a person may feel dirty even though he or she has showered twice within the past hour.Such thinking can also lead to self-fulfilling prophecies. For example, if you think “I feel ugly and stupid, so then I must actually be ugly and stupid” you might then stop buying yourself new clothes and start doing poorly at the course you are taking at university, even though you look fine and were doing very well at school.And this type of thinking also explains one key aspect of procrastination—as in, if you feel you’ll fail at something, you’ll probably put it off, or not even attempt it.

Emotions usually aren't grounded in reality, but it's easy to confuse your feelings for gut instinct. Telling yourself, "If I feel this anxious about launching my own business, I wasn't meant to be an entrepreneur." But acting contrary to your feelings--like facing your fears--helps you build mental strength.

What should I do?

You could use the Wise Mind technique:

The Wise Mind

Your mind has three states: The reasonable mind, the emotional mind, and the wise mind. Everyone possesses each of these states, but most people gravitate toward a specific one most of the time.

A person uses their

reasonable mind when they approach a situation intellectually. They plan and make decisions based off of fact.

The emotional mind is used when feelings control a person’s thoughts and behavior. They might act impulsively with little regard for consequences.

The wise mind refers to a balance between the reasonable and emotional halves. They are able to recognize and respect their feelings, while responding to them in a rational manner.

Describe your problem with each of the three states of mind.

Reasonable

Emotional

Wise

© 2015 Therapist Aid LLC Provided by TherapistAid.com

This post is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered therapy.This blog is only for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered therapy or any form of treatment. We are not able to respond to specific questions or comments about personal situations, appropriate diagnosis or treatment, or otherwise provide any clinical opinions. If you think you need immediate assistance, call your local doctor/psychologist or psychiatrist or the SADAG Mental Health Line on 011 234 4837. If necessary, please phone the Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567 or sms 31393.

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This blog is only for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered therapy or any form of treatment. We are not able to respond to specific questions or comments about personal situations, appropriate diagnosis or treatment, or otherwise provide any clinical opinions. If you think you need immediate assistance, call your local doctor/psychologist or psychiatrist or the SADAG Mental health Line on 011 234 4837. If necessary, please phone the Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567 or sms 31393.