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Stop Negative Thought Patterns by Mapping Them Out

May 31, 2012


Thought Mapping Worksheet (Try it by clicking here!)

For stubborn fears and thoughts, I fill out a worksheet that helps me analyze my thoughts (based off of the book Mind over Mood by Dennis Greenberger.) On the left hand column, I write the who, what, when, where, how of the bothering situation (e.g. I am feeling stressed and overloaded with work and family duties). Next, I write my mood and rating, such as stress 95%. Next column, I write any thoughts and images that come to mind and circle the one thats the hottest or most intense (I’m sinking.  I’m underwater.  I’m on a treadmill!) Then, I provide evidence that supports these thoughts (I missed my son’s last soccer game and I’ve come home late three nights this week.)

Now we start to get out of the mire. In the next column, I write down evidence that does not support the negative thought (Though I missed the last one, I’ve made plenty of other games this season.) In the next column, I write down a more balanced, alternative thought (I’m stressed, but I’ve handled this situation before. These are things I get to do, not have to do.) Finally, I rate their same moods again as in column two (stress 60%).

A worksheet like this may seem cumbersome, but to effectively uninstall thought processes that are ingrained over a lifetime, we need to slow and analyze the thought process to this level of detail. The worksheet helps us not be a victim of our thoughts, but analyze them to see if they’re credible. Do this over a number of months, and you will see results.

Try it with the worksheet attached.

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