How to change negative thinking with cognitive restructuring

Most people experience negative thoughts from time to time, but sometimes these types of authority become so fixed that they interfere with relationships.

Most people experience negative thoughts sometimes, but sometimes these types become so fixed that they interfere with relationships, achievements, and even happiness.

Cognitive rebuilding could be a bunch of restorative procedures that offer assistance individuals take note and alter their negative considering designs.

As thought patterns become destructive and self-destructive, you should explore ways to interrupt and redirect them. That’s what cognitive restructuring can do.

How does cognitive restructuring work?

Cognitive rebuilding is at the heart of cognitive-behavioral treatment, a well-researched discussion treatment approach that can viably treat numerous mental wellbeing conditions, counting discouragement and disarray. anxiety disorder.

In cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), patients and therapists work together to identify erroneous patterns of thinking that are contributing to a problem and practice techniques to help reshape the problem. negative thought patterns.

It can be difficult to spot inaccuracies in the way you think. For that reason, most specialists prescribe working with an advisor once you start cognitive rebuilding.

As the name suggests, Cognitive restructuring techniques deconstruct unhelpful thoughts and rebuild them in a more balanced and precise way.

People sometimes experience cognitive distortions – patterns of thinking that create distorted, unhealthy views of reality. Misperceptions often lead to depression, anxiety, relationship problems, and self-destructive behaviors.

Some examples of cognitive mismatches include:

  • Black and white thinking
  • Disastrous
  • Generalization is too general
  • Personalized

Cognitive restructuring offers an opportunity to notice these wrong thoughts as they unfold. You can then rehearse these thoughts in more accurate and useful ways.

The theory is that if you can change the way you look at certain events or circumstances, you can change the feelings you have and the actions you take.

So how exactly do you structure a negative thought?

Cognitive restructuring techniques

While anyone can use cognitive restructuring techniques to improve their thinking habits, many find it helpful to collaborate with a therapist.

A therapist can help you find out what cognitive distortions are affecting you. They can too clarify how and why thought is irrational or wrong.

A specialist can moreover assist you to learn to “address” defective thought patterns and overhaul them to form them more positive.

Here’s a brief direction to a few of the procedures included in cognitive rebuilding:


To change the type of thinking that doesn’t work, you have to identify the mistake you’re making. Cognitive restructuring depends on your ability to perceive thoughts that cause feelings and negative states of mind.

It is also very helpful to note when and where thoughts arise. You may be more prone to cognitive distortions in certain situations. Knowing what those situations are can help you prepare ahead.

For example, if you are a student having trouble with anxiety, you may notice a pattern of disaster in a test environment. Maybe your model looks like this: I will definitely fail this test, fail the course, and not graduate with others. Everyone will know I failed.

Knowing that a flaw exists can help you capture your negative thinking and change it before it gets better for you.

A few individuals discover it supportive to the diary as a portion of the method. Even if you aren’t sure at first what caused your anxiety or sadness, writing down your thoughts can help you spot distortion or cognitive patterns.

When practicing self-monitoring, you will likely begin to notice distorted thought patterns more quickly.

Question your assumptions

Another essential part of cognitive restructuring is learning to question your thoughts and assumptions, especially those that seem to hinder you from living a productive life.

A therapist can teach you how to use Socrate-style questioning to find out where and how your automatic thoughts are biased or illogical.

Some of the questions you can ask include:

  • Is this thinking based on feelings or facts?
  • Is there any evidence that this thinking is correct?
  • Is there any evidence that this thinking is incorrect?
  • How can I test this belief?
  • What’s the worst that could happen? How can I respond if the worst happens?
  • In what other ways could this information be explained?
  • Is this really a black-and-white situation or has gray patches here?

For example, if you are going through a cognitive distortion called a catastrophe, you may tend to assume the worst possible outcome in a stressful situation. When questioning this thought model, you can ask yourself to list all the possible outcomes. Ask yourself how each possible outcome is.

Asking questions allows you to consider new possibilities that are not as harsh as the dire ones you might fear.

Evidence gathering

An important element of cognitive restructuring is evidence gathering.

You can decide to keep track of events that trigger responses, including what you’ve been with and what you’re up to. You may want to record how powerful each response is and what memories form as a result.

You can also gather evidence for or against your own thoughts, assumptions, and beliefs. Cognitive distortions are misleading and inaccurate, but they can also be ingrained. Their removal and replacement require proof of their validity.

You may need to list facts that indicate a belief is correct and compare the list with facts that show the belief is distorted or simply inaccurate.

For example, if you personalize the actions of others, you can often blame yourself for things that weren’t your fault. It can be beneficial to see evidence that an action has nothing to do with you.

Do a cost-benefit analysis

Using this strategy, you will weigh the advantages and disadvantages of maintaining a certain cognitive bias.

You might be wondering:

  • For example, what do you get by calling yourself an idiot?
  • How does this thinking cost you emotionally and practically?
  • What are the long-term effects?
  • How does this thinking affect those around you?
  • How does it promote or limit your work performance?

Taking a look at the pros and cons can help you decide whether to change the model.

Here’s a well-known recent example of how cost-benefit analysis works:

On her “Nanette” show, comedian Hannah Gadsby talked about how she built a career out of low-profile humor. But in a sense, the harm she’s doing to her sense of self is more than the benefit of her career. So she decided to stop ripping herself up as a joke.

“Nanette” is a huge success, partly because so many people realize the disastrous trade-offs they make every day.

Create alternatives

Cognitive restructuring helps people find new perspectives on what is happening to them. Part of practice involves providing plausible and positive alternative explanations to replace the deviations that have been applied over time.

For example, if you don’t score well on a test, rather than generally speaking that you’re good at math, you can explore ways you can change your study habits. Or, you can explore some relaxation techniques you can try before your next exam.

Here’s another example: If a group of coworkers stops talking when you walk into the room, instead of coming to the conclusion that they’re talking about you, you might want to consider alternative explanations for their actions. In doing so, you may find that the situation has nothing to do with you or that you have misinterpreted what’s going on.

Creating alternatives can also involve making positive affirmations to replace inaccurate or unhelpful thinking patterns.

You may want to remind yourself that you make a positive, valuable contribution to the job and that your colleagues are always included with you in what’s going on. You can make these claims based on your list of contributions that you have actually made and the positive relationships you have built.

What are the benefits?

While working with a therapist at first can be very helpful, cognitive refactoring is a technique you can learn to do on your own after knowing how it works.

Being able to identify and change your negative thinking patterns has many benefits. For example, it can help:

  • reduce your stress and reduce anxiety
  • Strengthen your communication skills and build healthier relationships
  • replacing unhealthy coping mechanisms such as substance use
  • rebuilding confidence and self-esteem

What problems can cognitive restructuring help with?

The American Psychological Association recommends that the CBT help:

  • Eating disorder
  • Depression
  • Worry
  • PTSD
  • Disorders of substance use
  • Mental illness
  • Marriage problem

It can also help navigate difficult transitions like divorce, critical illness, or the loss of a loved one.

In any life situation where negative thought patterns develop, cognitive restructuring can help you challenge and change negative thoughts.

Are there any downsides?

Since everyone should be working with a therapist, one potential downside to cognitive reconstruction may be the financial out-of-pocket expense of therapy sessions.

Doctors at the Mayo Clinic note that in some cases the technique of CBT may be most effective when combined with medications.

The bottom line

Cognitive rebuilding is one of the central components of cognitive-behavioral treatment.

Most of the time, cognitive restructuring is collaborative. A patient often works with a therapist to identify erroneous thinking patterns and replace them with healthier, more accurate views of events and circumstances.

Cognitive restructuring can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression and can help with a range of other mental health problems.

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