If you are feeling regret over unreached goals, thought records are a good way of evaluating what went wrong and how it can be changed. Psychologist Cecilia d’Felice explains how you can create your own.
‘Creating a thought record helps refresh your mind and outlook on a situation. By mapping out the issues involved, the thought record will give you a way to stop the problem from going round and round in your head with no resolution.’
1 Start by drawing a map. Divide a piece of paper into columns with the following headings: Situation, Feelings, Thoughts and Challenges.
2 Describe the situation you are in. In this column, describe the situation you’d like to change. If you want to have a more loving relationship with your partner, for instance, you might describe the issues you are facing by asking questions: do you sleep in separate rooms? Do you eat separately or together? How do you relate to each other?
3 What do you feel? In the next column note down your feelings about those issues: ‘I feel sad, I feel lonely, I don’t feel listened to, I feel relief that we don’t interact.’ Feelings can be conflicting.
4 What do you think? In the thought column write what goes through your mind: ‘he/she doesn’t love me any more, we are not friends any more, I wish things could be better.’
5 Challenge what you see. Now, challenge these thoughts. Is it really true that he/she doesn’t love me? Ask yourself what’s truly going on. For example: ‘We had a really nice drink together.’ Look for evidence for or against your thoughts.
6 Take on a new perspective. Finally, once you have set it all out, you can now try approaching the situation from a different perspective: ‘I’m going to send a loving text now and we’ll spend the evening talking.’
Read our Twitter chat with author John Williams on how to make it happen!