One of the most powerful ways to improve your emotional wellbeing is with rational thinking. Sounds strange, doesn’t it?
We often think of our hearts and minds as two separate things and if either one has the upper hand, it has to be the heart, right?
Our feelings sway us easily and compel us to act impulsively or do something we know we shouldn’t. We’re influenced by our own thoughts and the environment, including social media. It’s been found that 69% of Millennials experience the Fear of Missing Out which is driven by what they see on social media. As a result, they spend compulsively to match their peers.
Fortunately, our rational minds can curb impulsiveness, anxiety, and more. When we can think in a more rational way, we’ll be able to approach life’s challenges with clarity, giving us long-term emotional stability.
The person who proposed and taught that rational thinking can help us feel better is Dr. Albert Ellis. His work led to the birth of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and helped shape psychology to a large degree.
In this post, we’re going to look at a few ways you can apply rational thinking to managing feelings. When you can observe yourself and check your feelings against the following rational practices here, you’ll see an improvement in your overall wellbeing.
Do you know someone who thinks that their day is ruined because it rained in the morning? Or perhaps, you’ve judged yourself pretty harshly because you made a few mistakes at work
These examples are forms of overgeneralizations. According to Dr. Ellis, we overgeneralize in three main ways:
- When we rate our entire being based on a few actions, thoughts, or feelings
- If we paint a picture of others based on limited interactions or experiences
- When we decide that life or the world at large is good or bad when we’ve only experienced a portion of what it can be like
Instead of allowing such thoughts to continue, try to catch yourself making broad generalizations in everyday life.
You can then replace these thoughts with more rational thinking. Instead of judging yourself or others for problems or mistakes, recognize that we are multi-faceted human beings with complex feelings. We change over time and can experience positive things in the future.
When you stop overgeneralizing, you’ll see hope and improvement in the future and can put your energy into moving forward.
Watch for extremes in thinking
Another effective and simple way to boost create a sense of emotional wellbeing in our lives is to curb any extremes in thinking. What does that mean?
When we think in extremes, we’re looking for only the best outcomes and refuse to accept other possibilities.
For example, sometimes I make a demand of myself that I always write the perfect blog post for my readers. But in reality, that’s not something I can do every single time. This is an extreme form of thinking that can be replaced with healthier rational thoughts.
A healthier rational thought would be ‘I’d like to make the best post I can and I’ll certainly try. But I will accept it if it isn’t perfect.’
Develop a balanced view of life and let the desire for perfect experiences and people go. To do this effectively, you’ll also need to learn how to accept life, yourself, and others fully.
Choose total acceptance
Having the attitude of total acceptance means being present to the way things are. While this is a rational way of thinking, you’ll be interested to know that it aligns with Buddha’s teachings on acceptance as well.
When you fully and cheerfully accept the state of the world, yourself, and others, you actually become more empowered to create change and improve life. How is that possible?
It’s possible because you step away from a disempowering state into one where you’re ready to make the changes you can. From a more empowered state of mind, you’ll find better solutions or choose to move away from the concern completely.
Your rational mind can be your greatest tool by helping you be more present and accepting.
The three main rational thinking practices showcased above will help you put your energy into productive areas of your life. You’ll also see personal growth and greater happiness by applying them.