This #MentalHealthMatters post was written by Richard A. Venn, LPCC, CTP-C, Dual Diagnosis Therapist at Ravenwood Health

I ran across the THINK acronym some time ago in one of my readings (forgive me for not providing the exact citation) and have been sharing it with clients and groups ever since. So many folks have expressed appreciation for the perspective it provides, that I deemed it worthy of imparting to you.  If you are unfamiliar with this acronym, the elements are:   

                                                                                                  True Helpful Inspirational Necessary Kind 

The challenge is to ask ourselves, “Is what I am about to think, say, or do True, Helpful, Inspirational, Necessary, and Kind?” and if the answer is ‘no’ to any one of the elements, perhaps it would be best left unthought, unspoken, or undone.  

Processing our thoughts, actions, and statements through the THINK filter does not involve a long, drawn-out process, nor does it demand years of schooling, training, or credentials. It is accomplished in a heartbeat or two and requires only a bit of mindfulness 

It works like this: you have an inkling to think, say, or do something, so you ask yourself, “Do I know with absolute certainty that this thought or idea is True?” If not, it ends there. Should it continue to nag at you, do some research, study, and reach a conclusion. A few moments spent examining the notion might save you from embarrassment, or worse.   

If the concept is true, proceed to the Helpful filter and question, “Is what I am about to think, say, or do going to benefit another person, myself, or anything at all?” Remember, something can be true, but not necessarily helpful.   

If deemed beneficial, run it through the Inspirational filter. Reflect, “Will this thought, word, or action be found inspirational? Will it inspire anyone to become the best version of him- or herself?”  The answer is not always clear in the moment. 

Either way – ‘yes’ or ‘no’ – we move on to Necessary, “Is this idea, announcement, or action necessary? Is there a valid reason to think, say, or do ___?”  If found to be unNecessary, it could just be noise.   

If there is validity to it, the final measure is Kind. “How can I think, do, or express this information in a manner that is caring, gentle, affirmative, compassionate, and empathetic?”   

Imagine life if everyone took a moment to ask, “Is what I am about to think, say, or do true, helpful, inspirational, necessary, and kind?” and then did, thought, or said only those things that passed that scrutiny . . .  

My hope in sharing this with you is that you recognize the Truth in this exercise…find it Helpful…that it Inspires you to experiment with it personally and in your counseling…that you appreciate the Necessity of examining your thoughts, words, and actions before engaging in them…and that you receive this information in the spirit of Kindness with which I present it. 
Enjoy every moment . . .  

  Daytime reads:
The Gifts Of Imperfection Let Go Of Who You Think You’re Supposed To Be And Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma   by Bessel Van der Kolk
The Promise of Sleep: A Pioneer in Sleep Medicine Explores the Vital Connection between Health, Happiness, and a Good Night’s Sleep by William C. Dement
Eat for Life: The Breakthrough Nutrient-rich Program for Longevity, Disease Reversal, and Sustained Weight Loss  by Joel Fuhrman 

Nighttime read:
Camino Winds  by John Grisham