Negative thoughts can really affect how you feel. Unhappy thoughts equal unhappy people.
I used to have a lot of unhelpful, negative thoughts. I hated it! And so, I changed them. I ‘reframed my thoughts’
When I was younger I found this app called Wysa. It is a really helpful app for self-care and mental health. This app is so cool, and I love how they send cute gifs – they really cheer you up! I highly recommend this app.
The most intriguing thing inside this app was the ‘Organize your thoughts’ section. It’s a helpful way to organize and reframe your thoughts. I wanted to make another version of it, since chatting with a bot can be a little annoying sometimes (they can answer slowly, sometimes you just don’t really want to talk to others, you just want to be alone). So, I made a journaling guide for it. With this you can make a little Thought Journal!
I have made 3 PDF versions of it, so you can organize your thoughts whenever you can’t or don’t want to use the app. I still recommend the app if you are a little bit confused at first, because Wysa tells you exactly what to do! It is explained very well.
So I will be explaining a little more about the PDF’s now.
First of all, you want to write down all your thoughts. It might be helpful to write down thoughts throughout the day so you know in the end what thoughts kept you busy. It’s fine to write it down, but not reframe them right away. Just let go of the thoughts, and come back to them later.
Next, you want to write down behind them if they are positive (P or +) or negative (N or -). If you like colors, you could also color the thoughts, if you want! For example, green for positive and red for negative.
1. I am grateful for my family. +
2. I hate myself for always making up stupid excuses for things. –
Focus on the negative thoughts (the positive thoughts are already positive, leave them as is). How did they make you feel? Asking this question helps to find negative thoughts as well sometimes. Sometimes you think they are positive (usually with ‘I should…’ thoughts) but when you think more about it, they are actually negative (‘I should’ means that you are not content with something and you really have to change something)
This thought makes me feel very unhappy, because I am mad at myself for making excuses.
Next, we want to spot the distortion in the negative thoughts. Look at the second PDF for the distortions and examples.
This thought is an overgeneralising thought. It is also an emotional thought (I hate myself for…)
The last step is removing the distortion and reframing the thought.
First distortion – 0vergeneralising:
We have to ask the following question: ‘What is the evidence that supports your belief that this will always happen?’ – In my case, I don’t have any evidence for this. I can’t predict the future.
Rephrase after removing the distortion: I hate myself for making up a stupid excuse yesterday.
Second distortion – emotional reasoning:
We have to ask the following question: ‘Am I thinking this way just because I am feeling low right now?’ – Yes. I don’t always hate myself, I just hate myself at the moment.
Rephrase after removing the distortion: I don’t want to make excuses anymore after yesterday.
And finally, with this thought, you can move on and set a goal! This is a helpful thought.
You can download the PDF’s here:
Part 1: Organising thoughts
Part 2: Finding the distortion
Part 3: Removing the distortion
Good luck, I hope positive thoughts will come your way soon.