Change your thoughts- CBT style

It’s draining and can be tough to get out of the habit of thinking negatively, but it’s completely reachable to turn your thoughts around by using different techniques. A great technique that I have recently come across, is what is used in CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). The focus is to analyse your thoughts as a pattern so you can begin to change that pattern.

As I am starting the journey of trying to keep my mind as healthy as possible, whenever I have a negative thought, I write down my own ‘ABC’ form. If you want to change the way that you think too, give it a try. It’s simple once you get the hang of it!

Basically, the ABC concept is to split your negative thought into 3 sections.

ACTIVATING EVENT- What has activated your thought?
For Example: “Anticipating going to a Social Event”

Examples of an activating event can include: An event that has just happened or is happening, an image or a memory, something that you’re anticipating, an object/person/place, a physical sensation etc.

BELIEF- The thought/belief that went through your mind?
 For Example: “If I go to this social event, then everybody is going to think I’m weird and I’ll panic and won’t know what to talk about. It will be awkward.”

CONSEQUENCE- Your emotion/action because of this?
For Example:

Emotion- Anxiety
Action- Withdrawn

Once you have started to write down your thoughts in this way, you can begin to see a pattern of thoughts. The next step is to challenge these thoughts and patterns.

When looking at your BELIEFS section, consider-

– What evidence do you have that can prove this thought is 100% accurate?
– Are you thinking logically and realistically or are you being biased by how you feel?
– Do other people whose opinion you respect agree with this thought?
– Are you allowing yourself to think flexibly or only seeing the worst?
– Would you encourage people that you love to think this way?
– How would you view this situation If you was feeling differently?
– How can you think in a less extreme manner?
– What evidence is there that shows there could be a different outcome to the one that you are thinking?
– How can you change your belief to enable you to think more healthily and realistically? (concern instead of anxiety, sadness instead of depression, annoyance instead of anger)

When you have begun to challenge your beliefs, you can learn to change the consequence of your thought.

So,The first thought:

“Anticipating going to a Social Event”

“If I go to this social event, then everybody is going to think I’m weird and I’ll panic and won’t know what to talk about. It will be awkward.”

Emotion- Anxiety
Action- Withdrawn

Turns to:

“Anticipating going to a Social Event”

“If I go to this social event, I might seem friendly like my friends tell me that I am, and if there is nothing to talk about then maybe I can use my personality to find something that we have in common. It might be fun to meet new people.”

Emotion- Anticipation
Action- Planning for event

This is a slightly different type of post to what I usually do but I thought it would be fun to share my research with you. I hope that if you want to take action and really make changes to your thoughts, this is a good place to start. ​

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