Mental House Tip - The “OR” Game

Healing Before Your’re Cured (my new book) features 4 Mental House games you can play to become healthier and Happier. This is the second game - enjoy!

Objective: To come up with four or five positive thoughts about a specific event that you’ve already thought a negative thought about.

 How to play the “OR”s:

 1.     A negative event occurs.

 2.     Become aware that you have thought a negative thought about the event.

 3.     Feel how “true” this feeling of negativity is.  Rate it 0-100, a “0” being not true at all to “100” very true. 

 4.     Come up with four or five positive thoughts that are true about the event as well.

 5.     Check in with how much better you feel.  Rate it 0-100, “0” being not at all better, to “100” being completely better.


Time it takes:  Should take under 3 minutes once you get the hang of it.


Example scenario:  I’ll take the easiest one we have all experienced: Someone you wanted to call you back does not call you back.  You’re upset, because it feels like the reason he/she hasn’t called back is that he/she doesn’t care about you.  It feels 100% true that this is the reason. 

Four alternate thoughts:

1. He/she didn’t get the message.

2. OR he/she hasn’t been feeling well, and lots of calls have gotten backlogged.

3. OR his/her aunt got into an accident and they are very close. Everything else has dropped on the wayside while he/she has been helping out at the hospital.

4. OR he/she is bad at returning calls, no matter who the caller is. 

Rerate your feeling about not getting called back.


Why it works:  This game is drawn directly from two pieces of research, from cognitive behavior therapy, which show that giving alternate explanations to yourself decreases the anxiety/distress and is protective against depression, and also using the 4.5:1 positive to negative thought ratio that was presented above.  By experiencing the positives of a “negative” event, we challenge the reality that it’s actually negative.  We make it something that is beneficial, even if that benefit simply is putting forth the effort to try to be positive.  The “OR” game starts a new habit, which leads to more profound changes over time. 


Taken from the chapter: The Mental House

Healing Before You’re Cured: The Evidence-based Guide to Taking Control of Your Body and Mind

Available on Amazon in print, e-book, and Audible audiobook.