Earlier today I was thinking more about those pesky cognitive distortions and I remembered another CBT technique to use to help slow those suckers down.
What is the evidence?
Earlier I suggested you challenge the distorted thought by asking if it was reasonable or unreasonable.
You can also look for the evidence to either support or disprove the cognition. Take the risk to investigate, like a detective, before you make the final arrest.
Maybe you can relate to this...
I'm was in my kitchen messing around with dinner preparation. In comes my husband, home from work. I greeted him. He growled at me, marches past, frown on, brow wrinkled, head down.
Rats, I think. What did I do? Why is he mad at me? First I was anxious, then angry. But before I get all defensive, a more reasonable voice in my head whispers, "What makes you think his behavior has anything to do with you? Before you jump to conclusions (a type of cognitive distortion, don't cha know), gather the evidence... Ask him!"
You know the rest. Somehow I found the guts to ask him if he's mad at me and he said no, of course not. His mood had nothing to do with me. He was mad about something at work. My anxiety went from 8 on the distress meter to a sensible 4.
Look for the evidence next time you are thinking nasty, distorted thoughts. What you discover might just spare you a lot of unnecessary emotional pain.