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Breaking Free from Emotional Reasoning: Overcoming Cognitive Distortions in Personal Finance

Understanding Emotional Reasoning and its Impact on Our Lives

Do you ever find yourself stuck in a cycle of negative thinking? Perhaps you feel overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed, and all your efforts to feel better seem to fall short.

Maybe you struggle with procrastination and find it challenging to stay motivated. If any of these sound familiar, you may be experiencing emotional reasoning.

What is Emotional Reasoning? Emotional reasoning is a cognitive distortion that occurs when we use our emotions as evidence to support our thoughts and beliefs.

Instead of relying on facts, we make decisions based on our feelings, leading us to make erroneous judgments. In other words, we reason with our emotions rather than with our intellect.

Examples of Emotional Reasoning

Emotional reasoning can manifest in various ways, including negative thinking, anxiety, overwhelm, depression, and procrastination. Negative Thinking: When we engage in negative self-talk, we are using emotional reasoning.

For example, if we tell ourselves that we are not good enough for a job promotion because of past failures, we are using our feelings of inadequacy as evidence instead of facts. Anxiety: When we experience anxiety, we often focus on all the negative outcomes that could occur.

We use our emotions to justify why we are afraid of certain situations, even if the evidence suggests that there is no danger. Overwhelm: When we feel overwhelmed, we may shut down and avoid taking action.

We use our emotions as evidence that the task is just too much for us to handle, even if we have the necessary skills. Depression: When we are depressed, we often feel a sense of hopelessness and sadness.

We may convince ourselves that our life will never get better, even if we have evidence to the contrary. Procrastination: When we procrastinate, we use our emotions as evidence that we do not have the motivation to complete the task, even if we know it is essential.

The Impact of Emotional Reasoning on Personal Finance

Personal finance can be a challenging area for many of us, and our emotions can play a significant role in our decision-making processes. When it comes to money, our emotions can influence our self-esteem, confidence, spending guilt, and more.

Emotions and Personal Finance

Emotions, such as fear, anxiety, and guilt, can be overwhelming, and when combined with money decisions, they can make us feel even more inadequate. For example, when we feel guilty about overspending, we may try to make up for it by setting overly aggressive financial goals, making us feel worse when we fall short.

Examples of Emotional Reasoning in Personal Finance

Bad at Money: When we use statements like “I am just not good with money,” we are using our emotions as evidence rather than facts. Our lack of confidence may lead us to make poor financial decisions, even when we have the necessary knowledge.

Feeling Unqualified: When we feel unqualified to make financial decisions, we may avoid them altogether, leading to missed opportunities. We should recognize our knowledge gaps and gain more information instead of relying on our emotions to justify inaction.

Inability to Reach Financial Goals: When we set financial goals, we often use our emotions as evidence to justify whether we can reach them. If we do not believe that we are capable of achieving our goals, we are more likely to give up before we even start.

Guilt about Overspending: When we overspend, we may use our guilt as justification for not making any other financial decisions. We may believe that we do not deserve to make any further investments or savings because we have already made a mistake.

Overwhelm and Fear of Investing: When we feel overwhelmed or afraid to invest, we may use our emotions as evidence to justify inaction, even if we know that investing would be beneficial. Doubt in Ability to Live in Abundance: When we doubt our ability to live in abundance, we may avoid making any financial decisions that could lead to a more prosperous life.

Our emotions may convince us that we are doomed to live in scarcity.


Emotional reasoning can significantly impact our lives in many ways, including our personal finances. It is essential to recognize when we are using our emotions as evidence rather than relying on facts.

By gaining a deeper understanding of our emotional reasoning patterns, we can make more informed decisions, leading to better outcomes and a more fulfilling life. Overcoming Emotional Reasoning Blocks: Strategies for Success

Emotional reasoning can be a difficult hurdle to overcome when it comes to making decisions and achieving our goals.

However, with practice and perseverance, we can develop strategies to overcome these cognitive distortions. In this article, we’ll explore four techniques for overcoming emotional reasoning blocks: identifying thoughts and feelings, gathering outside evidence, fact-checking, and seeking professional help.

Identifying Thoughts and Feelings

The first step in overcoming emotional reasoning blocks is to identify our thoughts and feelings. Initially, it may be helpful to write down our subjective thoughts and feelings about a particular situation.

Make a list of everything that comes to mind, even if it seems irrational. Once you have a better understanding of your thoughts and feelings, you can begin to analyze them and look for patterns.

Ask yourself if your thoughts and feelings are based on rational observations or if they stem from your emotions. By examining our thoughts and feelings more closely, we can gain insight into the underlying causes of our cognitive distortions.

Gathering Outside Evidence

The second strategy for overcoming emotional reasoning blocks is to gather outside evidence. Sometimes, we can become so caught up in our own feelings that we lose sight of the facts.

By seeking outside perspective, we can get a more comprehensive view of the situation. One way to gather outside evidence is to talk things over with a trusted friend or colleague.

These individuals can offer a fresh perspective and help us see things from a new viewpoint. They can also provide additional information that we may not have considered before.


The third technique for overcoming emotional reasoning blocks is to fact-check our feelings. It’s essential to determine whether our emotions align with the facts of the situation.

We can do this by gathering evidence and examining it at face value. For example, if we feel anxious about a work project, we can review the key deliverables and assess whether we have the necessary skills to complete the task.

By objectively evaluating the facts, we can determine whether our emotions are grounded in reality.

Seeking Professional Help

The final strategy for overcoming emotional reasoning blocks is to seek professional help. A clinical psychologist or therapist can provide an objective perspective and help us work through our cognitive distortions.

An intervention may be necessary if our emotional reasoning blocks are particularly severe or significantly impacting our daily life. Professional help can also teach us techniques and strategies that we can use in the future to overcome emotional reasoning blocks.

By working with a professional, we can learn the skills we need to make sound decisions based on facts rather than emotions.


Emotional reasoning can be a significant barrier to achieving our goals and making sound decisions. However, by implementing the strategies outlined above, we can overcome these cognitive distortions and make more informed choices.

Additionally, these techniques can help us develop greater self-awareness and emotional intelligence, leading to a more fulfilling and satisfying life. Emotional reasoning is a cognitive distortion that can negatively impact our ability to make sound decisions and achieve our goals.

To overcome this, we can use techniques such as identifying our thoughts and feelings, gathering outside evidence, fact-checking, and seeking professional help. By implementing these strategies, we can develop greater self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and make more informed choices.

By recognizing the impact of emotional reasoning and utilizing these different techniques, we can ultimately make better decisions that align with our goals and values.

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