The proof of the pudding is in the eating. The same can be said of your assumptions, behaviors beliefs, and predictions about yourself and the world around you. Use experiments to test out the truth about your beliefs and to assess the usefulness of your behaviors.
You can use behavioral experiments in the following ways:
· To test the validity of a thought or belief that you hold about yourself, other people, or the world.
· To test the validity of an alternative thought or belief.
· To discover the effects that mental or behavioural activities have on your difficulties.
· To gather evidence in order to clarify the nature of your problem.
Living according to a set of beliefs because you think they’re true and helpful is both easy and common. You can also easily stick to familiar ways of behaving because you think that they keep you safe from feared events, or that they help you to achieve certain goals. An example of this may be holding a belief that other people are out to find fault with you – with this thought in mind, you then work hard to hide your mistakes and shortcomings.
The beauty of a behavioral experiment is that you often find that your worst imagined scenarios don’t happen, or that you deal with such situations effectively when, or even if, they do occur.
We may be stating the obvious, but change can be less daunting if you keep in mind that you can always return to your old ways of thinking about things if the new ways don’t seem any better. If your old ways seem to be the best option, nothing’s stopping you from going back to them. The trick is to prepare yourself to try out new strategies and to give them a chance before returning to your former ways. Find out what works best for you and your particular situation.