Destructive Emotions

Finding their Cause

Destructive emotions such as anger, depression, anxiety, and fear are caused when we believe something that is not true. On a separate piece of paper, answer these questions as best as you can. They will help you discover the mistaken or untrue beliefs that caused the destructive emotions. I recommend you get a small spiral notebook to write in and a three-ring binder to keep your materials.

Think of a time this week when you felt destructive emotions (see emotions page). Go through the questionnaire below to analyze what you were believing at the time and the truth that will allow you to feel calm, productive emotions.

The Situation:

  • What was the situation?
  • Where did this happen?
  • When did it happen?
  • Who was involved?


  • What was going through your mind at the time and just before?
  • Were there images in your head?
  • What judgments were you making about yourself?
  • What judgments were you making about others?
  • What might the other people have been thinking?
  • Is there another way of looking at this?

Whole Body:

  • What was happening in your body at that time?
  • What is happening in your body now as you recall the situation?


  • List your feelings at that time? (check the emotions chart)
  • Rate each of your feelings on a 1 – 5 scale, one being very mild and five being over the top.
  • How do you feel now that you’re looking back at it?


  • How did you act out your feelings? (Did you yell, cry, stomp out, withdraw, avoid, use some other coping mechanism?)
  • If there was a hidden camera in the room, what would it have recorded?


  • Is this a typical example of what happens in similar situations?
  • Are there other times when you react this way?
  • Are there times that are different?
  • Why is it different at other times? (The timing, the people involved, your mood, what you were thinking?)


  • What was the lie that you believed? (Check the table of the 10 thinking Errors.)
  • What is the truth in this situation?
  • How would you have behaved differently if you had recognized the truth?

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