Our thoughts control how we feel about ourselves and the world around us. Positive thoughts lead us to feeling good, meanwhile negative thoughts lead us down dark paths that can result in self sabotage, upset, worry and anxiety.

Sometimes our thoughts happen so fast that we don’t even notice we have them. Some of our thinking stems from patterns created over a lifetime of experiences and input. Oftentimes, sadly our automatic thoughts are negative and often irrational. Identifying these negative thoughts and replacing them with new rational thoughts can improve our mood and well-being.

Ex., A trigger may be getting a low mark o a Math test.

Automatic thought: “I am so stupid. I am not good at Math and never will be.”

New thought: “I tried my best. It’s only one grade. I will practice more next time.”

Strategies to help defeat Automatic Negative Thoughts:

  • Watch the “Automatic Thoughts” video

  • Brainstorm with students different examples for some of the categories of negative automatic thoughts that occur (i.e., catastrophizing, overgeneralizing, assuming or mindreading, fairy tale fantasizing…)

  • Learn the “Triple R Strategy” (Record, Rationalize, and Replace):
    • Record upsetting events
    • Rationalize by addressing each irrational thought

    • Replace with a rational thought

    • Practice the Triple R Strategy in your journal with a negative automatic thought that you have or have had.

Are you plagued by negative thinking? Video about automatic thoughts-those destructive worries that creep into your mind and escalate without reason.

Some resources to go with the topic of positive and negative thoughts and self talk: