Cognitive science tells us that when stress becomes a disorder it causes a shift in thinking – so that our attributional style (ie the way we explain the world to ourselves, also known as our ‘explanatory style‘) becomes distorted and stretched out of proportion, which can cause us (and those around us) more upset than events actually warrant.
Events and situations, no matter how challenging, only influence (however strongly) our feelings and behaviors – ultimately, it is our ‘thinking’ that determines how we will feel and behave. The same thing can happen to ten different people, and they will all process it differently, uniquely, and will feel and behave differently in response to it – depending on their view of it, themselves, others, and the world.
We can literally learn well being, and shift our thinking back into proportion, with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / Training – which will teach us in a structured ‘apply’ way to build awareness of our attributional style, and to examine it to see if it’s distorted and overdramatic, and based on false evidence and assumptions and bad thinking habits, and to REFRAME it to a rational and healthy and undistorted way.
The following are simple examples – giving the same stressful situation – but three different attributional styles which cause different physical/emotional/behavioural responses – to show you how it typically goes.
We’re looking to see which styles are: Over-responsive? Overdramatic? Too physically pumped up? Too personalised? Helpful or unhelpful? Rational or irrational? Clear or distorted? Self sabotaging? And which are reasonable and cool and moderate.
And note, for the purpose of this work we are philosophers looking to correct our ‘self talk’ and responses to situations – there is no right or wrong or good or bad, it simply is what it is. Learning self examination with unconditional acceptance is a beautiful science. Read on…
Do you get it? Great. Walk through this blog for more information and homework so that you can begin to journal and shift your own thinking…
Good luck! And most importantly, enjoy. Science is fun.