Automatic Negative Thoughts in CBT

Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs) are the spontaneous negative thoughts we have in response to unpleasant experiences, events or triggers. Our automatic negative thoughts have a big impact on our moods and how we feel. To learn more about ANTs, please watch the video below.

Automatic Negative Thoughts and CBT

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CBT Thought Record: Change Your Negative Thinking

In cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), the thought record or thought diary is the main tool we use to modify automatic negative thoughts. Watch the video below to learn how you can use the thought record to change the way you think to change the way you feel. You can download a couple of different versions of the thought record or diary from the links below the video.

CBT Thought Record: Modify Automatic Negative Thoughts

Thought records can be difficult to complete at first. The video below helps troubleshoot potential challenges and offers some tips to make the thought record more effective. Read More



Cognitive Distortions in CBT

Cognitive distortions are our exaggerated and/or negatively biased patterns of thinking that lead to us perceiving reality inaccurately. Cognitive distortions have a big effect on our moods, and contribute to depression, anxiety, stress, anger, and all sorts of other issues.

In the video below you’ll learn to identify a number of cognitive distortions such as: all or nothing thinking, overgeneralization, mental filters, discounting the positive, jumping to conclusions, mind reading, fortune telling, magnification and minimization, catastrophizing, emotional reasoning, labeling, and personalization. Then you’ll learn how to modify your cognitive distortions and make your thinking less negative.

Cognitive Distortions in CBT

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Depression Self Help: Treat and Manage Depression With CBT

Learn how to treat and manage depression with these self help strategies from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT), two of the most effective treatments for depression. We’ll look at how changes in behavior via behavioral activation can help ease depression, how changing our thoughts and how we relate to our thought with cognitive restructuring and mindfulness can help us start feeling less depressed, and how we can manage our emotions when we’re struggling with depression.

Depression Self Help: 6 Tips to Treat and Manage Depression

 
 

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CBT and DBT Skills: Behavioral Activation, Opposite Action for Depression

Behavioral Activation is a CBT technique that uses opposite action, one of the emotion regulation dialectical behavior skills. to help us improve our mood by changing our behavior.

When we’re feeling depressed we tend to not want to do much of anything, which only leaves us feeling more depressed. With behavioral activation, we work on increasing our level of activity by engaging in activities that give us a sense of pleasure, achievement, and/or social connection. Behavioral activation is one of the most effective things we can do to help lift our mood and start to pull ourselves out of a period of feeling depressed.

CBT, Behavioral Activation and Depression

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Reversing the Cycle of Depression

upward spiralIn a previous post, we looked at the cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) model of the vicious cycle of depression involving thoughts, feelings, behaviours, memories and physical symptoms. One of the first steps in overcoming depression is to put and end to this vicious cycle, and gain some momentum that can help you cycle in a positive direction.

Just as automatic negative thoughts result from and contribute to depression, by engaging in more neutral and balanced ways of thinking, we can begin to stop the vicious cycle involving negative thoughts and depression. Cognitive therapy provides an effective tool to help break out of negative patterns of thinking. As our thoughts become less negative, we begin to feel less depressed, and as we become less depressed, our thoughts about ourselves, our lives and our future become less negative, and so on.

We can experience similar reversal in these vicious cycles in other areas of our lives that are affected by, and affect depression. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help change behaviours that result from and contribute to depression such as reducing level of activity and withdrawing socially. Changes in diet, exercise, sleep habits and self-care can help alleviate the distressing physical symptoms associated with depression and lead to more energy and motivation.

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The Vicious Cycle of Depression

How to Treat and Manage Depression

 
 

depression cycleIn the cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) model of depression, one of the reasons that breaking out of depression can be so difficult is that depression generates vicious cycles involving a number of aspects of our lives. Once we get stuck in these vicious cycles, they can be hard to break.

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Cognitive Therapy and Challenging Negative Thoughts

 

When we’re feeling distressed about something or going through a difficult emotional experience it can feel like our thoughts are running out of control. Our minds start racing and we find ourselves dwelling in the past, worrying about the future, or just spinning our wheels trying to think ourelves out of our problems.

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Cognitive Fusion and Defusion in Acceptance & Commitment Therapy

 

In a previous post we looked at some ways to practice letting go of thoughts, but it can often be difficult to let of thoughts because they have such a powerful pull, especially when the thoughts are related to a strong emotion. In my post, What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?, we learned why acceptance is so important in ACT. Cognitive defusion is a way of accepting our thoughts, allowing them to pass into and out of our minds, without getting stuck in our heads.

Steven Hayes, who developed Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), coined the term “cognitive fusion” to describe times when we are so tightly stuck to our thoughts, we become “fused” to them. When we’re experiencing cognitive fusion, we can’t separate ourselves from our thoughts. Our thoughts become our reality. We feel removed from the world outside of our thoughts, removed from our senses, from what we’re doing, and even from the people around us.

The opposite of “cognitive fusion” is “cognitive defusion.” Cognitive defusion involves taking a step back from what’s going on in our minds, and detaching a little from our thoughts. In this state of defusion, we can observe our thoughts and other internal processes without getting lost in them, stuck in them or fused with them. We can simply notice our thoughts, watch them, accept them and let them go if we choose to.

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Watching Thoughts and Letting Them Go

 

In a recent post we looked at how mindfulness can help us let go of our thoughts when we get caught up in ruminating or worrying or just thinking in circles. Letting go of thoughts is never easy, however, and in this post we’ll look at how simply watching our thoughts can help us let them go.

Thoughts pop into our heads all the time, and usually we don’t pay any special attention to them: they enter and leave our minds all on their own, just like a car that drives into our line of sight, remains in our field of vision for a few moments, and then drives along and passes out of our line of sight again.

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