Perhaps there are days when irrational thoughts would pop up and suddenly linger around your mind, making you feel pressured, upset, frustrated, and other mixed emotions. When these thoughts get left unresolved or ignored, they can impact your everyday life. And in some cases, they can take a toll on your mental wellbeing, as well as on your body too, causing fatigue, or feeling worn out.
What Causes Irrational Thoughts?
There are numerous reasons a person can start having irrational thoughts, but most of them can be attributed to anxiety. When you’re anxious about something, your mind will likely start creating scenarios (a.k.a. forecasting) and eventually turn into irrational thoughts. Such thoughts may also start occupying your mind when you’re reading too much over little things.
Another thing that can cause irrational thoughts is when a person has a specific mental health condition, such as:
- Panic disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Anxiety disorder
- Substance-use disorder
Overall, anyone can experience irrational thoughts. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to help you overcome such thoughts instead of them overwhelming you.
How To Overcome Irrational Thoughts?
Allowing these irrational thoughts to run your life can hold you back. And in some cases, it may lead you to make poor choices that can negatively affect you. With that, here are four methods to help you productively overcome irrational thoughts and help you make better and rational decisions in your life.
Recognize And Accept Your Thoughts
Ignoring or brushing away your thoughts can only worsen them as they’ll keep returning. When you resist them, the more they’ll take over your mind. And so, the first step in overcoming them is to recognize and accept them. For instance, if you find yourself starting to have an irrational thought, tell yourself quietly or out loud and say, ‘I have an irrational thought’.
Remember, having irrational thoughts doesn’t make you a bad or weak person, so you don’t have to hate yourself or beat yourself up because of it. Accept that an irrational thought is currently in your mind and acknowledge it. It may be challenging at first, so give yourself a few minutes to pause and process that thought and let the negative feeling pass. This way, you can control your feelings and not let irrational thoughts negatively influence your actions.
Get Into Therapy
If you’re having difficulty recognizing these irrational thoughts, going into therapy may help you address and interpret these thoughts more healthily. Your therapist may suggest a type of therapy designed to deal with and overcome irrational thoughts, called rational-emotive behavior therapy.
So, what is the main goal of rational-emotive behavior therapy? Essentially, this therapy is a specific type of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) that aims to confront rational and irrational beliefs. With this type of therapy, your therapist will help you identify these irrational thoughts and help transform them into rational and more sensible thoughts.
For example, if your irrational thought is always about death, your therapist can help uncover the reason behind this thought or fear. Maybe you constantly think about death because of past trauma. Another example is supposed you may be having irrational thoughts about rejection. In that case, your therapist can help you process these feelings and thoughts and uncover what may be the cause. Perhaps this fear or belief may be rooted in past experiences of being bullied or rejected, causing you to feel unworthy or with low esteem.
Regardless of your irrational thoughts and the reason behind them, your therapist will aim to help you navigate such thoughts and overcome them in a healthy way.
Write Down Your Irrational Thoughts
Another way to help you overcome these thoughts is through journaling. When writing down everything that’s been bothering you, you can get a better sense of what’s in your mind and how you can change it. More so, the process of writing them down can also be therapeutic as you can relieve yourself from these intrusive thoughts instead of rashly saying or doing actions that you might regret later.
So, if you find yourself constantly bothered by your irrational thought patterns, consider keeping a pen and notebook with you. That way, every time an intrusive thought comes into your mind, you can write it down.
Once they’re all on paper, you can reframe these thoughts and turn them into something positive. For instance, if you’re overthinking about work, you can write a statement like, “I know I’m doing my best at work, and I can do better again.” Over time, as you continue doing this, it can be easier to overcome these irrational thoughts and have a better and more optimistic view of yourself, your life, and the world around you.
Develop Healthy Lifestyle Habits
Instead of letting these thoughts ruin the quality of your life, you can use them as a motivation to make your life better and take care of yourself more.
For instance, you can start creating healthy lifestyle habits such as cooking healthy meals, meditating, exercising regularly, or starting hobbies. Exercising, meditating, and doing your hobbies can help distract your mind from irrational thinking and focus on self-improvement. Meanwhile, eating healthily, getting enough sleep, and doing meditation practices will not only improve your general health but can also reduce stress and anxiety.
With a healthier mind and body, you can be able to handle your irrational thoughts better.
Understandably, having those irrational thoughts in your head can be overwhelming, scary, or confusing. When not managed, these thoughts could take over your life and take you away from living in the present moment.
But remember, you’re never alone, and anyone can have irrational thoughts sometimes. So, whenever some of these thoughts are starting to bother you, you can always try the tips mentioned above. If it affects your daily life, you can approach your doctor or therapist for more professional assistance and guidance.