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Thought Challenging and How to Respond

The way that we think about things has an impact on our levels of stress and anxiety and our general mood. Many of these negative and unhelpful thoughts occur outside of our control. It is therefore important to remember that they are not based on facts, they are simply thoughts without any real basis. 

Here is a list of examples of how to challenge some of these thoughts we have that may be out of our control.

Evidence

  • What is the evidence that supports your thinking?
  • What evidence is there to suggest your behaviour will be helpful?
  • Is there any evidence that suggests your thinking is not accurate?
  • Is there any evidence that suggests you are coming to the wrong conclusions?
  • Is there any evidence that suggests your behaviour might not be helpful?
  • Is there any evidence that suggests there may be a better way to respond?

Alternative View

  • Can you think of any other ways to interpret the situation?
  • Is it possible the situation has a different meaning than the meaning you are attaching to it?
  • What other different responses might be available to you?

Best Friend

  • What advice would you give to your best friend if they were in a similar situation?
  • Would there be anything you would advise your best friend to think about in this situation?
  • Would there be any particular response you would advise your best friend to take in this situation
  • Can you think of any coping strategies and problem solving techniques you might advise your best friend in this situation?

Role Model

  • What do you think your role model might be thinking in this situation?
  • How do you think your role model might respond in this situation?
  • What possible coping strategies might your role model have for this problem?

Costs / Benefits

  • What are the “benefits” of you thinking about it in this way? What advantages does it have for you in thinking this way about the situation?
  • What are the “costs” of you thinking about it in this way? What disadvantages does it have for you in thinking this way about the situation?
  • Have a look at all the “benefits” you can thought about and decided on. Are there other ways of thinking that can bring you similar benefits?
  • What are the “benefits” of you responding in this way? What advantages does it have for you in responding this way about the situation?
  • What are the “costs” of you responding about it in this way? What disadvantages does it have for you in responding this way about the situation?
  • Have a look at all the “benefits” you can thought about and decided on. Are there other ways of responding that can bring you similar benefits?

Worst-Case Scenario

  • What’s the “worst” that might realistically happen?
  • Complete a worst-case scenario action-plan
  • If the “worst” does happen, are you sure you couldn’t cope?

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Written by Anxiety United

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