Mind Over Mood- What's the Trigger?

The human mind is amazing when you think of all it is capable of. But sometimes our minds can play tricks on us. This week we are going to work though a scenario that will show just how overpowering our thoughts can be and cause us to make up and believe things we don't know are true.

Greenberger and Padesky have an easy chart to follow in their book "Mind Over Mood", which maps out how to sort through messy thoughts when they are spiraling out of control.

The steps are:

1. Figure out the trigger as you look at all the details of the situation

2. Look at all the positive and negative automatic thoughts you have after the trigger and figure out which thoughts are "hot" and make your mind spiral into the negative

3. Look for evidence to support or not support each thought

4. Develop an alternative thought that is more balanced and true based on the evidence you do have

5. Look at your core beliefs (how you think of yourself inside). If they are negative,  it's time to start changing them. If your core beliefs are negative, your automatic thoughts will be too.


So there's your intro... Now follow along all week as we use the following story to show how to do each of these steps!

Patty's Story: Patty was shopping at the grocery store on a Saturday morning, when she saw her neighbor, Jenny, down the aisle. Patty waved at Jenny, but Jenny didn't wave back. Jenny turned her cart around and went to the check out line.

Step #1: The trigger for Patty is that Jenny did not wave back, but instead turned around to leave the store.

When figuring out your trigger, make sure you pay attention to every little thing that could affect your mood: Time of day, where you are, who it involves, day of the week, how you are physically feeling (too hungry, too tired, in pain, etc). Make sure you look at the who? what? when? and where? All of these details could have an impact on the types of automatic thoughts you could have.

Check in tomorrow as Tamara sorts through all the automatic thoughts that might be racing through Patty's mind.


Source: Mind Over Mood by Dennis Greenberger and Christine Padesky

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.