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Thinking logically in today’s world can seem virtually impossible amidst feelings of anger, anxiety or sadness evoked by news headlines or social media. It is often difficult to become aware of and think through these feelings before saying or doing anything irrational. However, it is important in both personal and professional situations to develop the ability to think rationally, even when your emotions are telling you otherwise. The following are some tips to help you recognize the difference between emotional and rational thought.
Recognize that what you feel is a response to your own thoughts about what is happening to you, or around you. While your initial understanding of something may be correct, there are times when you may have misheard or misunderstood. It is important to pause and give yourself time to understand a situation before reacting.
Sometimes anger or anxiety can be so overwhelming that you aren’t able to pause and breathe to think rationally about what is happening. While your feelings may be justified, it is important to recognize that this is the proper time to remove yourself from the situation. By removing yourself, you can take time to evaluate your emotional response and think through the circumstances. Determine if there are other ways to view what is happening, if you are making any assumptions or if you may have misread the situation.
Child logic is emotional thinking disguised by flawed logic. An example of this is when we expect perfection from ourselves, even though part of being human means we are not perfect. “Failure” or the inability to live up to our expectation of perfection can cause extreme anger, shame or hopelessness. It’s important to remember to have realistic expectations for yourself and the people around you. While you may still experience some disappointment or sadness, being realistic keeps you from feeling unnecessary levels of these emotions.
Take time to think through each of your potential responses and understand their possible consequences. Evaluate how those consequences will bring you closer or further from your end goal. Determine if it is beneficial to project your anger in a more constructive manner or let go of it altogether. Calculate your response accordingly.
For more help with working through your emotions, contact Mercy EAP at (319) 398-6694.