We all have experienced our negative beliefs running away with us in difficult times. What if there was a way to correct these taunting beliefs into more accurate beliefs that stay with us permanently? I call this an Anchor Page. It is our “go to” place of truths we have vetted in the past when our mind was clear and not in the emotional part of the brain. We write it down to be able to refer back to it when we are in that sense of dread or discomfort and cannot think clearly. It is written when we are using the part of the brain that has logical, rational, reasoning capabilities. Reading this page again and again reprograms our brain to replace the taunting emotional beliefs with the rational truth.
Behind this sense of dread or discomfort are thoughts that are not in our conscious part of the brain in the moment, so we are often unable to think them through. We just feel the dread or fear or emotional discomfort. We are not able to resolve those feelings and easily discard them. When we are more able to think through some of our negative thoughts we can then turn those thoughts into more accurate and reasonable true statements that will override those negative beliefs the next time they show up.
Rational vs Emotional Part of the Brain
This rational vs emotional functioning is a natural process of the brain. The rational and reasoning capabilities develop fully around 25 years of age. This is why it is very discomforting when teenagers make life-altering decisions with little life experience and a part of the brain that is not yet fully developed. The emotional part of the brain identifies how we feel. In cave men days it told them that if they didn’t run they would be eaten by the saber tooth tiger in front of them. It was about fight or flight responses. We still have those feelings today but usually in a less dangerous way. It might be we forgot a doctor’s appointment and we now have to pay the bill anyway. But we still can have moments of panic or dread without fully understanding why. It can be the “jitters” or a sense of dread as we are getting dressed for a blind date.
We need to make decisions using the rational part of the brain so we are thinking through various components of the issue at hand without our feelings getting in the way. It is important to recognize how we feel because it can often lead us to take action. For example, those feelings signal when something is tugging at us and needs our attention. We may have an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of our stomach and we cannot identify the “why”. But later we may remember that we told someone we would call them and we realize we don’t want to make that call because the person will be upset with us. But then it is important to switch over to our reasoning capabilities when we actually make the call.
Examples of Anchor Page Items
|Irrational Belief||More Accurate Belief|
|If I disagree with my friend she will drop me as her friend.||The right kind of friend wants me to be happy also. If she doesn’t, then maybe she is not a good friend.|
|If I don’t get a guy to approach me it means I am not good enough to be with a man. I will be alone.||I am good enough already. I just haven’t found the “right” one for me yet. Others don’t define my worth.|
|If I get laid off I will not be OK. I won’t be able to get another job.||I have gotten jobs before. I can find one again. I have figured out tough situations in the past. I can do it again. I have within me what it takes to get through difficult situations.|
|Things never turn out for me.||I can name several things that have turned out well for me in my life. Such as…|
|I am too fat for someone to want me.||The right person will also see the good things inside me. If I don’t like being this weight myself, I can always do something about it.|
|People just ignore me and walk right past me. They always seem to be upset with me. I’m always saying or doing something “stupid”.||People are not always going to see me. That doesn’t mean they don’t like me. Sometimes they may be in their own thoughts. Those people are usually very friendly with me. And even if I do say something wrong, they will understand. They probably do it themselves, I’m sure. That’s being human.|
Putting Together an Anchor Page
Usually, when I have asked someone to do this there is a theme involved. Therefore, the irrational beliefs will have a particular theme all the way through the Anchor Page. That way, when you run into that belief you know which Anchor Page to go to. However, it in no way needs to be a particular theme. You can make a continuous list of irrational beliefs and the more accurate, corrected versions along side it with no particular theme. Do whatever works for you best.
Remember the main purpose behind an Anchor Page:
Capture the irrational beliefs and correct them with beliefs that are more accurate and come from the rational and reasoning part of the brain. The more you add examples and their corrections to your list — and continue to read them – you will be reprogramming your subconscious part of the brain to permanently change your thinking to something more positive, realistic and accurate. Our experiences often change for the better because our beliefs no longer have us looking for negative things to back up the negative beliefs. We tend to attract more positive experiences because our thinking has become about more positive beliefs.
- Upon reflection, can you recognize patterns in your thinking that were irrational?
- Did you make any corrections to that thinking over time?
- Have you ever experienced a change in your thinking or beliefs that was a positive change?
- Rather than to “stew” or ruminate over some idea that is making you unhappy, check it out with another person. See what they think about it. Or if it involves that person, even more reason to check out your thinking with them.
You Can’t Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought (The Life 101 Series) by Peter McWilliams
Conquer Negative Thinking for Teens: A Workbook to Break the Nine Thought Habits That Are Holding You Back by Mary Karapetian Alvord PhD & Anne McGrath MA
The Science of Positivity: Stop Negative Thought Patterns by Changing Your Brain Chemistry by Loretta Graziano Breuning