Fifteen Ways To Untwist Your Thinking*



Identify the Distortions. Use the Distorted Thinking chart on page 249 and write down the distortions in each Negative Thought.
The Straightforward Approach Substitute a more positive and realistic thought.
The Cost-Benefit Analysis List the advantages and disadvantages of a negative feeling, thought, belief, or behavior.
Examine the Evidence. Instead of assuming that a Negative Thought is true, examine the actual evidence for it.
The Survey Method Do a survey to find out if your thoughts and attitudes are realistic.
The Experimental Method Do an experiment to test the accuracy of your Negative Thought.
The Double-Standard Technique Talk to yourself in the same compassionate way you might talk to a dear friend who was upset.
The Pleasure-Predicting Method Predict how satisfying activities will be, from 0% to 100%. Record how satisfying they turn out to be.
The Vertical Arrow Technique Draw a vertical arrow under your Negative Thought and ask why it would be upsetting if it was true.
Thinking in Shades of Gray. Instead of thinking about your problems in black-and-white categories, evaluate things in shades of gray.
Define Terms. When you label yourself as "inferior" or "a loser," ask yourself what you mean by these labels.
Be Specific. Stick with reality and avoid judgments about reality.
The Semantic Method. Substitute language that is less emotionally loaded for "should" statements and labeling.
Reattribution Instead of blaming yourself for a problem, think about all the factors that may have contributed to it.
The Acceptance Paradox Instead of defending yourself against your own self-criticisms, find truth in them and accept them.

*Copyright 1992 by David D. Burns, M.D., from "Ten Days to Self-esteem," copyright 1993.

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