Cognitive Therapy Techniques to Change Your Thoughts

Cognitive Restructuring is a simple but powerful technique for identifying and undoing negative thinking patterns like worry and rumination. Do you often find yourself “stuck in your own head,” caught in endless spirals of negative thinking? Maybe it’s an overly-judgmental inner voice that constantly points out past mistakes and perceived faults. Or maybe it’s perpetual worry about the future and comparison to other people. For many of us, negative thinking patterns are the source of tremendous emotional suffering and misery. In fact, they’re the key drivers of both depression and anxiety. And while negative thinking can feel completely automatic and outside our control, with the right practice and techniques, you can learn how to re-train your mind’s habitual way of thinking and free yourself from the burden of negative self-talk.

Here are some cognitive therapy technique that are available at your disposal :

  • Identify Distortions in automatic thoughts.
  • Examine the Evidence – Instead of assuming that your negative thought is true, examine the actual evidence for it. For example, is it true that I never do anything right? What are some things I do well? What are the things I’m not so good at?
  • The Double Standard Method – Ask yourself, “Would I say this to a close friend who was very much like me and had a similar problem?”
  • The Experiment Technique – When you have a negative thought, ask yourself if there is a way you could test it to find out if it is really true.
  • Thinking in Shades of Gray – Especially useful for all or nothing thinking. Remind yourself that things are usually somewhere between 0 to 100 percent. Instead of insisting you are perfect and never screw up or condemning yourself as a rotten person and giving up, acknowledge a mistake, forgive yourself, and move forward with your life.
  • The Survey Method – Ask yourself “Would other people agree that this thought is valid?” Or ask people in your life questions to find out if your thoughts and attitudes are realistic.
  • Define Terms – Especially useful if you are putting yourself down as “a failure” or “a loser” or “a fool”. What is a fool?
  • The Semantic Method – Good for “should statements.” Substitute a phrase like “it would be nice” or “it could be preferable” in place of “I should”. This may help you look at the thoughts without felling scolded, and will decrease your rebellious response.
  • Re-attribution – Good for personalisation. Ask yourself what other factors may have contributed to this problem. Focus on solving the program instead of using up all your energy blaming and feeling down.

Hope this post was helpful.

Reference :


5 Comments Add yours

  1. Shanique🌅 says:

    Oh my goodness I love this 😍 I especially like defining terms and examining the evidence. It’s hands down easier for me to do these things with other people communicating or conflict resolutions to be honest. But with myself these are getting more and more automatic. Quicker and quicker to respond with self compassion.

    There are specific topics I’m a little stuck though and it takes a while to snap out of it. Improving. Thank God for His grace ❤️🙏🙌😊

    Blessings and peace to you GS🙃

    Liked by 1 person

    1. GS says:

      Thank you Shanique. I am grateful that you are taking out time to read the posts on my blog and sharing your thoughts.

      It’s human nature to flinch away from pain, so of course you’d prefer to avoid thoughts that cause distress. Yet pushing away unwanted thoughts isn’t the way to gain control. That usually just makes them more intense. Instead, one should try the opposite: Accept those thoughts, and let them in. Say you feel a little low because nothing in your life seems to be happening the way you planned despite all your hard work. Acceptance might involve telling yourself, “Nothing seems to be going right, and that’s discouraging. There’s only so much you can do to create change yourself, but giving up entirely isn’t the answer either.” Acceptance can even offer clues as to why specific thoughts keep coming up.


      1. Shanique🌅 says:

        I know you mean well. Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. kelanie1 says:

    Yes, and reframing works too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. GS says:

      We are aware of a tiny fraction of the thinking that goes on in our minds, and we can control only a tiny part of our conscious thoughts. The vast majority of our thinking efforts goes on subconsciously. Only one or two of these thoughts are likely to breach into consciousness at a time.

      Liked by 1 person

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