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.