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What Exactly Is Cognitive Restructuring?

Cognitive restructuring is a technique that can be used to change the way we think about something. It involves breaking down our thoughts into smaller pieces and examining each piece separately. This can help us to see things in a new light and to challenge any negative or distorted thinking patterns that we may have.

One of the best ways to learn more about cognitive restructuring is to try it out for yourself. The following exercise will walk you through the process of cognitive restructuring step-by-step.

  1. Identify a situation that is causing you stress or anxiety.
  2. Write down your automatic thoughts about this situation. These are the thoughts that come into your mind automatically, without you even thinking about them.
  3. Identify any negative or distorted thinking patterns in your automatic thoughts. Common thinking distortions include all-or-nothing thinking, overgeneralization, and mind-reading.
  4. Challenge your negative or distorted thoughts. For each thought, ask yourself if there is any evidence that disproves it. Are there any other ways to look at the situation?
  5. Create a new, more realistic, and balanced thought about the situation. This thought should take into account all of the evidence, not just the evidence that supports your original automatic thought.

Once you’ve practiced cognitive restructuring on your own, you may find it helpful to use this technique with a therapist or counselor. A professional can help you to identify any negative thinking patterns that you may be unaware of and can provide support and guidance as you work to change them.





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