Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Welcoming Negative Thoughts

Dr Claire Hayes' welcoming approach to life's challenges promises to transform your way of thinking.

Tackling my negative thoughts is my main aim for Don't Feed the Negativity month; but Irish psychologist Dr Claire Hayes says our reactions are just as important.
"Because you are defined not by life's imperfect moments, but by your reaction to them. And because there is joy in embracing - rather than running from - the utter absurdity of life." - Jenny Lawson
'How to Cope: The Welcoming Approach to Life’s Challenges' by Dr Claire Hayes, the clinical director of mental health organisation AWARE, introduces coping techniques to readers who experience depression, anxiety stress, or just overthinking. Published in 2015, Dr Hayes builds on the work of CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) to discuss how our thoughts affect what we believe and how we feel. Instead of defeating these thoughts, Dr Hayes suggests we welcome them instead. Framed around examples from her clinical practice, 'How to Cope' is an accessible approach to implementing CBT practices.

With all the self-help books I have been consuming this year, it was refreshing to read one penned by an Irish author. She even uses the word 'grand' when discussing how us Irish try to cover up our feelings. But better still, the book helps us to probe our own thought patterns.

Dr Hayes lists a number of questions to ask yourself in order to change your thoughts:
Do my feelings make sense?
Are my thoughts helpful or unhelpful?
What do I believe? (which challenges your core beliefs)
Are my actions helpful or unhelpful?

She has also created two key tools for welcoming your thoughts and feelings: the Coping Triangle and the Coping Sentence.

Coping Triangle

"Life can be demanding enough without us causing ourselves greater upset because we “don’t feel happy”. Instead, let’s welcome all our feelings of distress, all our thoughts and beliefs about life’s challenges, and focus on transforming these in a way that is helpful for us."

How to Cope is one of those rare books that is not only helpful, but fully accessible as well. The steady pace and use of common, everyday language makes the book digestible; something a lot of self-help books sorely lack. 

If you struggle with negative thinking and overwhelming feelings; this is the book for you. 

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