Table of contents:

Throw Your Autopilot If It Leads Into A Swamp! - Self-development
Throw Your Autopilot If It Leads Into A Swamp! - Self-development

Video: Throw Your Autopilot If It Leads Into A Swamp! - Self-development

Video: Throw Your Autopilot If It Leads Into A Swamp! - Self-development
Video: Turning Off Your Autopilot Mode | Samuel Sperl | TEDxSaintAndrewsSchool 2023, December

Each of us has rather strange beliefs that once got into our head and firmly settled there - and not only sit, but also affect our thinking, behavior and mood! For example: “I will never understand higher mathematics”, “my nose is too big”, “beautiful women are dangerous for me” …

Someone may have the belief “I’m not good for anything” with which he lives and for the third year has not moved in any way on the career ladder. Although, if you ask this person head-on why the boss doesn't raise him, he has a million other explanations! But the thought that so undermines his self-confidence will not be named at all. Because for him the conviction that he is no good for anything is a truth that is already obvious to everyone around him and does not need to be pronounced.

Or here's another example: a girl is convinced that she is ugly. Moreover, she long ago found that type of makeup that emphasizes the dignity and hides everything else, picked up the perfect wardrobe and looks very sexy, but for some reason some idiots hang around her. And she looks into their mouth and feeds them with a silver spoon. Because, when meeting interesting men, she behaves like an ugly one - she is suppressed, nervous, and most importantly, she does not believe a single compliment at all! Men perceive this as arrogance and coldness and quickly flow away to more gullible girls (regardless of their appearance).

Automatic thoughts are a stream of thought that runs parallel to a more explicit thought stream (one that we can become aware of and criticize). Everyone has them and is practically not realized, that is, they do not come to the fore on the mental stage - such are the features of the human psyche. Like computer viruses, these beliefs are “embedded” in the thought process as arguments and change the final result of our judgments. By and large, automatic thoughts distort our perception of reality and spoil our mood. Actually, the appearance of negative emotions is the first and most key sign of the presence of automatic thoughts. The second sign is the appearance of obstacles on the way to the goals set. Every time you say to yourself: "I wish I could do it, but I won't succeed!" - think, why,actually, will not work? What's in the way? Usually, our thinking does not go further "it will not work", since the hidden arguments (those very automatic thoughts) are considered final and not subject to discussion of truth.


Think back to the last time you got upset and ask yourself a few questions:

  • What were you thinking at that moment?
  • What was happening around you?

Imagine the situation as if it is happening right now to accurately recreate the thoughts that rushed through your head. Try to grasp the very thought that triggered tension, nervousness, depression, or other unpleasant experiences. Make it as specific and simple as possible.

Now that you have this key thought, after which the mood soured, subject it to detailed consideration. How often does this thought come to you? In what situations? How much does it bother you, upset you? What actions do you usually take after it occurs to you?

Now ask yourself the question, “Why do you think your belief is correct? What concrete evidence is there? Are there other explanations? What are the consequences of believing in this belief? How would your life be if you didn't have such a thought?"

Aren't you afraid of the shadows on the wall and upset over trifles? But there are people who are sure that they will never succeed …


Automatic thoughts are one of the basic concepts of cognitive therapy. In this direction of psychotherapeutic practice, the following scheme is considered: thoughts? feelings. This means that what we think about affects our mood. By changing our thinking, we can change how we feel. To do this, you need to recognize an automatic thought that causes negative emotions. There are a number of other fairly simple ways to work with them. For example, imagine the most horrible, most beautiful and most realistic outcome of a frightening picture in working with the thought "I can't handle it."

In every automatic thought there is always a grain of reason, and it should not be discounted. But the size of this grain does not at all reach the scale of the conclusions drawn from it and subsequent disorders. By examining your automatic thoughts, you test your beliefs with the principle of realism and discover what in some areas you are used to making an elephant out of a fly.

Better to retire, however, this exercise can be done on the tram on the way to work. The work itself may seem a little boring, but its results will please you!


Questions to explore automatic thoughts by Judith Beck.

  • 1. What is the evidence to support this idea? What is the evidence against this idea?
  • 2. Is there an alternative explanation?
  • 3. What are the consequences of my belief in automatic thought?
  • 4. What could be the consequences of changing my thinking?
  • 5. What should I do about this?
  • 6. What advice would I give to a friend who is in the same situation?


In life, every person comes across the same problem until they solve it. This problem will really haunt until you get rid of it. That is, it turns out that if the source of the problem is an automatic thought, then the essence of the problem will be the same. Conclusion: you need to kill automatic thoughts. I understood this very well today.


When something happens, which is very frustrating, thoughts creep in my head like cockroaches and it is very difficult to catch them. Such thoughts and moods sometimes arise due to a lack of information. But in such a situation, it is impossible to answer questions and subject your thoughts to deep analysis.


I rarely get upset about something in my life. The last such case was in the summer, when I was going to Elbrus and an acquaintance lent me his sleeping down bag. I laid it out on the roof to dry. I left home myself, and when a heavy downpour suddenly poured down, I called my wife and asked her to remove the sleeping bag so that it would not deteriorate. I came home, but it turned out that my wife never took it off. I experienced a lot of negative emotions: annoyance, resentment, confusion. But I managed to overcome a bad thought just by working on myself. I calmed down, found out from my wife why she did not help me. He made sure that she had a good reason for that, and as a result, avoided a quarrel with a loved one. I believe that it is imperative to act in this way so that bad thoughts do not degenerate into automatic ones and subsequently spoil life.


The situation that upset me concerned another person. We very often make decisions for other people and resent them. Although, as it turns out, people most often did not intend to offend. We are always ready to be offended. Today I realized that it is better not to take something personally, not to create automatic thoughts, but just ask the right questions to the alleged offender. It remains to learn how to ask questions.

See also: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy by Judith Beck. From basics to directions