2 min read
Negative thoughts can come and go in the blink of an eye. It’s this rapid, automatic quality of the thoughts that often makes them so difficult to change. They slip under the radar like a quiet hum in the background.
One way to reverse this pattern is to pay more attention to negative thoughts and use an automatic thought record to identify, describe, and challenge them. Our Negative Automatic Thoughts Worksheet is designed to walk you through the process.
To get the most out of this exercise, follow these steps:
1. Try to slow down and try to notice when a negative thought occurs.
When something doesn’t feel right, tune in and ask yourself:
What’s going on inside?
Is there a dominant feeling, image, or thought that’s popping up?
Is there negative self-talk chattering in the background?
Are there beliefs or assumptions influencing the way I feel?
In the first column of the worksheet labeled ‘Toxic Thoughts’ write down the one negative thought, belief, or assumption that seems to really cut to the heart of the matter.
2. In the second column labeled ‘Type of Thought’.
See if you can identify the type of negative thought you’re having, as described in this week’s articles on dichotomous thinking and common negative thinking patterns. You can use the dropdown menu to select your choice or write in your own response.
3. Using the skills described in the dichotomous thinking and negative thinking pattern articles.
See if you can find ways to rethink your thinking.
Ask yourself: Are there more productive and balanced ways of looking at the situation?
What can you say to reassure or soothe yourself in these moments?
Write down these new thoughts in the column labeled ‘Antidote’.
Try this exercise for a couple of days and see if you can identify and gently challenge 4 negative thoughts. And let us know how it goes in the comments below!