Chapter 11

Week 4: Recognising That Thoughts Are Not Facts

IN THIS CHAPTER

Observing the guessing game

Reducing mental pain

Learning to live with life’s challenges

Exploring WorkplaceMT exercises for Week 4

Read the following story one line at a time. After reading each line, pause for a moment. Noticing the thoughts, images, emotions and sensations that emerge as the story unfolds line by line.

  • Reggie entered the bank.
  • He drew a gun.
  • He pointed it at the cashier, looked her in the eye, and uttered the words ‘bang, bang’.
  • He left the bank holding his mother’s hand.

What did you notice? Who was Reggie? Was he a gangster? A bank customer? A bank employee? Or was he a little boy? What stories were you making up as you read each line?

This story illustrates how your brain works tirelessly in the background to try to make sense of the world around you. We call it ‘the guessing game’. Your mind continuously tries to fill in the gaps it encounters, using all available information, including your past experiences. It elaborates and embellishes the information, it judges, and it tries to fit what you’re seeing or experiencing with past experience. Furthermore, the negativity bias means that the mind has a bias towards applying negative interpretations to fill the gaps when seeking to make the uncertain more certain.

The focus of Week 4’s exercise is to help make you more aware of self-attacking and unhelpful thoughts that restrict your choices in life. It provides the tools to help you ...

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