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Fact or Opinion?

Sometimes we may struggle seeing the facts or evidence we have against an unhelpful thought and belief. Sometimes we have to dig a little to get to the detail. It is important for us to be able to distinguish between fact and opinion:


  • Evidence to support its truth

  • Undisputed

  • Driven by rational thought


  • Based upon a belief or personal view

  • Varies according to individuals’ knowledge, experience, culture, belief systems etc.

  • Driven by and reinforced by emotion

At stressful times, we tend to be driven by our emotions and opinions, which create a vicious cycle by fuelling each other. Our emotions strengthen our opinions, which in turn, intensify our emotions. This can lead to impulsive acts and unhelpful longer term consequences, which help to maintain the overall problem.

It can therefore be helpful to ask ourselves whether what we are thinking is FACT or OPINION.

  • If it’s a fact, then we can make choices about what we can or cannot do.

  • If it’s an opinion, then we can look at the facts – what we do know about the situation.

Realising that many thoughts are opinion rather than fact makes it less likely that we’ll be distressed by them, and more able to make wise and calm decisions about what the best action to take.

Get into the habit of asking yourself whether your thoughts or beliefs are FACT or OPINION?

The familiar images of two straight lines (of equal length) and a candlestick (or two faces) show us that things are often not as they first seem, and there’s almost always a different perspective.

What information do you feel you distort to fit your model of the world?

Here are some helpful questions you can use to help you dig a little deeper with negative thoughts:

  • Is this thought a fact, or my opinion?

  • What am I reacting to?

  • What meaning am I giving this situation?

  • Is there another way of looking at it?

  • What would someone else make of it? It's often helpful to think about a particular person who you respect, and imagine what they would think about that thought, what meaning they would give it, and how they would react to it.

  • What advice would I give someone else?

  • Is this one of those unhelpful thinking patterns?

  • Is my reaction in proportion to the actual event?

  • How important is this really?

  • How important will it be in a months time?

  • How am I reacting?

  • What if I tried to see this situation as an outside observer. How would that look? Would things be likely to have a different meaning?

  • What evidence is there that this thought is true?

  • What evidence is there that this thought isn't true (partly or totally)?

  • What would be a more balanced way of looking at it?

With Love xxxx

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