How To Work On Your Thinking

1. Write Down Your Thoughts. Check if your thinking is working for you. Are you jumping to conclusions, over-generalising, using mental blinkers etc.? Find and record more reasonable statements.

2. Research the Evidence. Instead of taking your negative thought as an absolute truth, examine the evidence.  If your negative thought is” I always ruin things “, recall and list examples of when things went ok for you.

3. Talk to Yourself as if you were Talking to a Friend. We often are much more compassionate and understanding when communicating with our friends than we are with ourselves.

4.  Tone Down Your Thoughts and Allow Flexibility. Look for what went well in a situation and focus on what you could learn instead of seeing it as a complete disaster or a waste of time.

5. Try an Experiment. This is very helpful if you are inclined to panic. If you are saying to yourself” I am going to have a heart attack,” try running up and down the stairs to prove to yourself that your heart is pumpingadequately.

6. Do a survey. If you found an assignment particularly difficult ask your fellow students how they found it. Often you discover that you are not that different and have sharing experiences with others makes it easier to tolerate stress.

7. Stop Labelling. Label behaviour but not yourself or another. It’s ok to say “I made a mistake,” but not ok to say” I am a loser”. It’s ok to say you are annoyed with someone’s behaviour but not ok to call them a name.

8. Swap Should for Could. It takes the pressure away. Instead of “I should get some exercise you can say “It would be good for me to get some exercise”. This shift in how you talk to yourself can make all the difference.

9. Look at Problem from Different Angles. Instead of taking all the responsibility for a problem, explore the many factors that could have contributed to it. Focus on finding a solution to the problem instead of wasting energy on blaming.

10. Cost-Benefit Analysis.  Write out the advantages and disadvantages of a feeling e.g. feeling agitated when delayed in a queue. Do acost-benefit analysis on holding onto a negative thought such as “nothing goes right for me “or an unhealthybehavioursuch as withdrawing from friends when you are depressed or overeating whenyou are down. It is also useful to use a Cost-benefit analysis to challenge a self-defeating belief such as, “I must be the best in the group.”