IF WE TIRE OF IRRATIONAL THOUGHTS, SOCRATIC QUESTIONING MAY BE OUR REFUGE FOR DISPUTING THEM AND STANDING OUT BALANCED LOGICAL PERCEPTIONS THAT WILL MAKE US FEEL BETTER.
Consistently disputing our irrational thoughts with rational statements is one of the ways to assimilate or accept on a deeper level almost any belief that is empowering or logical to us. Socratic questioning is an effective means of going about this logical disputing exercise and fostering a balanced perspective.
Making out a list of empowering logical statements on a flash card in your wallet to be pulled out and read over repeatedly when negative thoughts assail us is an effective way of disputing and dealing with irrational thoughts.
To remind ourselves of a better, psychologically healthier perspective, it is proactive to display our disputing statements at strategic places like our refrigerator door, screensaver of our computer, bathroom mirror and so forth. Frequently reading them is the way to go.
Logical empowering statements fit for remembering include:
- For people to accept or reject my advice or opinion is okay.
- Inconvenience or disappointment is not a disaster
- Challenging situations or hassles are normal dimensions of life.
- The right to be wrong is everybody’s own.
By exaggerating the unpleasant aspects of our negative experiences, often termed as “awfulizing,” we make ourselves intensely anxious, frustrated, guilty, embarrassed, depressed or resentful and truly experience the situation as a disaster. If you are in the habit of exaggerating the negative traits of a situation or “awfulizing,” It is pertinent to catch yourself in the act and to consciously and simply question your concept or perception of reality. These simple questions may be useful in helping you to put things in clear perspective and string positive logical statements along:
- Does my perceived loss really matter to my survival?
- Will it matter in five year’s time?
- How bad is this situation? Where does it stand on an awful scale of 0 to 10?
- How will a positive person see this situation?
- What can I be grateful for?
- What aspects of this situation are within my control and what can I do about them?
- What are the likely consequences?
- What are the positive aspects of this situation?
- What is this experience teaching me?
A more balanced perspective helps us to feel better. Socratic questioning is also helpful in disputing our deeply entrenched cognitions or perceptions. This technique that uses a series of provocative questions to challenge people’s underlying assumptions, was developed by the ancient Greek philosopher, Socrates. Socratic questioning can guide us to subject our cognitions or perceptions to logical scrutiny, to highlight any evidence that contradicts or discredits them and resurrect up a more reasonable and balanced perspective. The following Socratic questions can be used in most situations to challenge our irrational cognitions or perceptions:
- What facts and subjective perceptions attend to this situation?
- Is there any evidence that supports my perceptions?
- What evidence contradicts my perceptions?
- Am I making thinking errors?
- What are the alternative ways of perceiving this situation?
The level of hurt we experience and its duration depends on our cognitions or perceptions. Nurturing more rigid and negative thoughts invites in more distress. If we tire of irrational thoughts, Socratic questioning may be our refuge for disputing them and standing out balanced logical perceptions that will make us feel better.