I was getting some homework for group therapy done last night, and I decided to make a few five factor models for Anxiety. Basically, the top box is the event- what has happened to trigger these emotions? Say, for instance a fight with a partner.
Can you feel your heart pump hard in your chest? Do you sweat and shake? Do you begin to feel unwell? Do you tremble with anger? Cry with sadness? Keep track of those physical symptoms and write them down under “Physical Sensations”
Then down from that, what thoughts are going through your mind as you feel this energy. These thoughts may be as basic as “I am unlovable” or “I’m worthless”. Write down all the thoughts that bring with them negative emotions. Further examples are thoughts like “I’ll end up all alone” “Nobody cares for me” “I’m a terrible person”.
Then, you write down all the emotions you’re feeling, for instance “Miserable”, “Disappointed” “Angry” “Unappreciated” or “Unsatisfied”.
And then any behaviour you use to cope with these emotions. Do you have a glass of wine? Do you go out for a cigarette? Do you sleep? Do you overmedicate? Do you give people the silent treatment?
It’s actually a really good way to clarify how you feel about certain situations. Dissecting and pulling apart that web of thought/emotion/behaviour/sensation can really help you work out the core of why you feel the way you do. You can even fill it in any order. So if for you, there’s the trigger, and your first instinct is behavioural, ie: A fight with your partner and you’re reaching for a wine or a beer? And only after that do the emotions and thoughts come.
Eventually once you’ve done it a few times, it gets easier to both identify the emotion you’re feeling and to have greater insight into your thoughts. It doesn’t take to long to realize that we’re often much harder on ourselves than we would be on anyone else. You’ll find you eventually can do this in your head, rather than writing it out. It will be become instinctual. Hopefully you will find it useful for untangling some of the negative emotions and thoughts we all have.
Here’s an example of one I completed after a fight with someone I love. It’ll give you an idea of how the model works within a real life scenario.