Subjectivity can muddy the waters when it comes to physical and mental recovery. You need to set realistic goals for yourself, and looking at your circumstances and plans from an objective perspective can make that easier. Many people achieve this by allowing their therapist or someone else in their support system to provide an objective perspective. However, some benefits come with being able to use self-talk and logically approach topics without outside assistance.
The effects of substance use or related conditions can cause cognitive-behavioral changes that might make it more difficult to focus or think clearly about emotionally difficult subjects. There are some tips and tricks that you can use to break down complicated issues into smaller components that you can then look at factually rather than letting emotion and habit make decisions for you.
How to Practice Objectivity
Objectivity means taking your gut emotional reaction out of the equation and neutrally looking at the facts of a situation. However, this does not mean that you should not have feelings or that you should avoid emotions. Instead, it can be helpful to set aside time to look over your day and the events and try to see them from a bit of a distanced perspective so you can analyze the situation. No one can successfully do this all the time, and that is perfectly fine. Often it works best when you have someone who can do it with you. Many times therapists will use challenging statements to help you think about things more objectively.
Your therapist may ask you to insert someone else into the experience that you had and then judge how it played out as if you were looking at someone else going through it. You can use this exercise before or directly after stressful meetings or other circumstances.
For example, if you feel like you did terrible while giving a work presentation, try to think about how you would feel if someone else had said or did those things and see if your opinion changes. Would you judge or criticize another person as harshly as yourself? Most of us are our own worst critics! Challenging your emotional responses in this way can help lower stress and anxiety.
3 Useful Exercises to Practice Objectivity
Below are a few exercises that you can use to practice objectivity in your daily life. Over time you will start to find yourself doing these things automatically as it becomes habitual to look at the facts of any given situation before jumping to conclusions. If you are often nervous or tend to catastrophize, these can help you feel more calm and collected. You can develop strategic objectivity by doing the following:
- Stay aware of your thought processes to recognize when you are starting to veer towards an overly emotional reaction to a situation. You can then take a mental step back to assess the situation.
- Take a mental step back by looking at a macro view of things instead of focusing on one aspect. Doing this can give you a healthier and more clear perspective on things.
- Consider the various response options you have instead of going with whatever gut reaction pops up in your mind. By taking the extra time to think about all the possible paths forward, you can respond more objectively.
How Objectivity Can Help Your Recovery
Two of the most common co-occurring mental health disorders for people diagnosed with substance use disorder are anxiety and depression. Both of those can affect your brain in a way that impacts emotional control. By consciously reigning in your emotions, you might start noticing a decrease in the symptoms. Even people who do not have mental health issues can benefit from being more objective in approaching their recovery and life choices.
Emotional Vs. Logical Thinking
Thinking logically about a situation will not diminish your emotional reaction, but it can help you make more informed and healthy life choices. In 2014 the Justus Liebig University in Germany studied the effect of emotions on problem-solving. “Results showed a clear effect of emotions on reasoning performance. Participants in negative mood performed worse than participants in a positive mood, but both groups were outperformed by the neutral mood reasoners.” The outcomes indicate that objectivity can have a positive effect on your ability to make decisions. By practicing each day, you can make it a healthy habit that allows you to look at things to equip you to make better life choices.
Everyone gets overwhelmed during stressful circumstances. By practicing objective thinking every day, you can train your brain to deal with those uncomfortable situations automatically. Your recovery will benefit from the steps that you take to become more objective. Strong emotions are a part of life, and everyone has them, but sometimes they can be allowed to run rampant and cause issues. You can learn to stay calmer by taking a mental step back before reacting to certain situations. Make it a habit to question your decisions so you can determine if you are doing what is healthiest for your recovery. Everlast Recovery Centers understands that anyone can increase the positive effects of neutral thinking while decreasing the risk of relapse by practicing strategic objectivity. At Everlast Recovery Centers, we can teach you practical coping mechanisms and life skills for developing a more open viewpoint. Call us today at (866) 338-6925.