Feeling Our Way Thru Life

Robert F. Mullen, PhD

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The distinction between social anxiety disorder and social anxiety is a matter of severity; reference to one includes the other. The recovery tools and techniques provided are applicable to most emotional malfunctions including depression, substance abuse, ADHD, PTSD, generalized anxiety, and issues of self-esteem and motivation. These malfunctions originate homogeneously, their trajectories differentiated by environment, experience, and the diversity of human thought and behavior. 

“Dr. Mullen is doing impressive work helping the world. He is the pioneer of proactive neuroplasticity utilizing DRNI – deliberate, repetitive, neural information.” – WeVoice (Madrid, Málaga)

Cognitive Distortion #1

Emotional Reasoning

Emotional reasoning is making judgments and decisions based only on feelings – relying on our emotions over objective evidence. It is best defined by the colloquialism – my gut tells me…  This emotional dependency dictates how we relate to the world. At the root of emotional reasoning is the belief that what we feel must be true. If we feel like a loser, then we must be a loser. If we feel incompetent, then we must be incapable. If we make a mistake, we must be stupid. All the negative things we feel about ourselves, others, and the world must be valid because they feel true. 

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Emotions are the reactions that we express in response to situations. Emotions by themselves have little relevance to the truth of a situation. They are products of what we think or assume is happening, and our subsequent reaction or response.

Emotional Reasoning is the catalyst for many of the other distortions. The irrational thought patterns that underscore our cognitive distortions stem from the SAD-provoked convictions we are helpless, hopeless, undesirable, and worthless. For example, when we engage in filtering, we selectively ignore the positive aspects of a situation because of our life-consistent negative self-beliefs. This unbalanced perspective leads to polarized thinking, where we perceive things only in black or white. Because of our negative self-appraisal, we assume everything that happens is our fault, and anything said derogatorily reflects on us. That’s called personalization, which is very much like internal blaming. Emotional reasoning is the likely progenitor of all of our cognitive distortions as they are ruled by our emotions.

We are hard-wired to be swayed by our emotions. They are our initial influence because they are unconscious and automatic; evidence and facts are secondary considerations. If we have distorted thoughts and beliefs, our emotions will reflect them.  When we make judgments and decisions based on our feelings without supporting evidence, we are likely misinterpreting reality. 

We are all highly susceptible to emotional reasoning, and not all decisions made are wrong or destructive. It is healthy to stay in touch with our feelings or trust our instincts, provided they correspond with reality. A balanced perspective embraces emotions and intuitions as well as evidence. Because SAD sustains itself on our irrational thoughts and emotions, we are prone to making poor decisions.

Recovery requires a rational response-based strategy for psychological balance. One that considers the simultaneous mutual interaction of our mind, body, spirit, and emotions working in concert. To counter our predilection for emotional reasoning, we examine and analyze our automatic negative thoughts before reacting and responding. We learn to rechannel the emotional angst of our situational fears and anxieties into intellectual self-awareness, considering the facts, evidence, alternative possibilities, and multiple perspectives.

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WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT SO IMPORTANT?  ReChanneling develops and implements programs to (1) moderate symptoms of emotional malfunction and (2) pursue personal goals and objectives – harnessing our intrinsic aptitude for extraordinary living. Our paradigmatic approach targets the personality through empathy, collaboration, and program integration utilizing scientific and clinically practical methods including proactive neuroplasticity, cognitive-behavioral modification, positive psychology, and techniques designed to regenerate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.  

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