Control of Thoughts and Feelings Questionnaire

? Russ Harris 2008 www.thehappinesstrap.com

This questionnaire has been adapted from similar ones developed by Steven Hayes, Frank Bond, and others. For each pair of statements, please circle the one that most accurately fits how you feel. The answer you choose doesn’t have to be absolutely 100 percent true for you all the time; just pick the answer which seems to be more representative of your general attitude.

1a. I must have good control of my feelings in order to be successful in life.
1b. It is unnecessary for me to control my feelings in order to be successful in life.

2a. Anxiety is bad.
2b. Anxiety is neither good nor bad. It is merely an uncomfortable feeling.

3a. Negative thoughts and feelings will harm you if you don’t control or get rid of them.
3b. Negative thoughts and feelings won’t harm you even if they feel unpleasant.

4a. I’m afraid of some of my strong feelings.
4b. I’m not afraid of any feelings, no matter how strong.

5a. In order for me to do something important, I have to get rid of all my doubts.
5b. I can do something important, even when doubts are present.

6a. When negative thoughts and feelings arise, it’s important to reduce or get rid of them as quickly as possible.
6b. Trying to reduce or get rid of negative thoughts and feelings frequently causes problems. If I simply allow them to be, then they will change as a natural part of living.

7a. The best method of managing negative thoughts and feelings is to analyze them; then utilize that knowledge to get rid of them.
7b. The best method of managing negative thoughts and feelings is to acknowledge their presence and let them be, without having to analyze or judge them.

8a. I will become “happy” and “healthy” by improving my ability to avoid, reduce, or get rid of negative thoughts and feelings.
8b. I will become “happy” and “healthy” by allowing negative thoughts and feelings to come and go of their own accord and learning to live effectively when they are present.

9a. If I can’t suppress or get rid of a negative emotional reaction, it’s a sign of personal failure or weakness.
9b. The need to control or get rid of a negative emotional reaction is a problem in itself.

10a. Having negative thoughts and feelings is an indication that I’m psychologically unhealthy or I’ve got problems.
10b. Having negative thoughts and feelings means I’m a normal human being.

11a. People who are in control of their lives can generally control how they feel.
11b. People who are in control of their lives do not need to control their feelings.

12a. It is not okay to feel anxious and I try hard to avoid it.
12b. I don’t like anxiety, but it’s okay to feel it.

13a. Negative thoughts and feelings are a sign that there is something wrong with my life.
13b. Negative thoughts and feelings are an inevitable part of life for everyone.

14a. I have to feel good before I can do something that’s important and challenging.
14b. I can do something that’s important and challenging even if I’m feeling anxious or depressed.

15a. I try to suppress thoughts and feelings that I don’t like by just not thinking about them.
15b. I don’t try to suppress thoughts and feelings that I don’t like. I just let them come and go of their own accord.

To score your test, count the number of times you selected option “a” or “b.”

You may like to repeat this test and see how your ideas have changed, after you have finished reading The Happiness Trap, or completed several sessions of ACT.