the way I think

This is an exercise my dad had me do last night. It’s called The Way I Think (Examples of cognitive therapy techniques). I’m just going to template my already written down answers that way you know what’s going on. It was a really interesting way to think. Maybe try it?
A. “I often worry that I ____ (fill in the blank).”
I often worry about what the hell I’m going to do with my life. I worry about how I’m going to be able to do what I want to do. I know that it won’t be easy, but I worry it may be impossible.

B. If this worry of yours was indeed true, what does it mean to you and why does it bother you so much?
If this were to be true it means that I won’t be able to live a full and happy life. All I want for myself is the ability to wake up in the morning and know that I’m doing what I love and I’m with someone I love.

“If what you JUST wrote was indeed true, what does it mean to you and why does it bother you so much?”
If I were able to live my life the way I dream, I would not only be helping myself, but I’d have the ability to help many other people. I have a voice and a message that I think needs to be heard so the thought of not being able to express it scares me.

“If what you JUST wrote was indeed true, what does it mean to you and why does it bother you so much?”
I think that everyone has a story they can tell. Everyone has a path they travel down. I know that I happen to be a person traveling along a path that’s a little different. And I want others to know that they can make their own way too.

C. What’s the worst thing that could possibly happen? What do you fear most of all?
The worst thing that could possibly happen is me living my life working a normal job that I hate, still stuck in Michigan and still keeping myself awake at night regretting the chances I didn’t take and the work I failed to put in.

D. When you think of the worst thing that could happen, do you really think that it’s likely to happen? If so, how could you learn to cope with it?
No, I don’t see this happening. If it did happen, I couldn’t really tell you how I would cope with it. To be honest I think I would be stuck sleepwalking through life. I would never feel free. I would always wonder what I could have done to make things different.

E. What do I (perhaps “secretly”) get out of thinking like this? How does it work to my advantage?
Thinking so detail-oriented and so deep can have a very positive impact if I use it the right way. I can use it as motivation to get me closer to where I hope to be. It could easily have a negative impact if I let it consume me and tear me down; or if I allow the ultimate goal to distract me from the work right in front of me.

F. Persuade a friend. Pretend that your friend has some of the same worrisome beliefs that you do. Look back over the things you wrote for questions 1-3. Pick out one of those statements and write it down, as if your friend just said it.
I often worry about what the hell I’m going to do with my life. I worry about how I’m going to be able to do what I want to do. I know that it won’t be easy, but I worry it may be impossible.
Now skip a line, and write a response to your friend’s statement. In that response, be a compassionate, rational, and realistic thinker.
Your life can be anything you want it to be. You can literally touch the sky if you want to. But you have to work. You have to keep your hope, and keep the ones you love close. You must take your time and let the work speak for itself. Your life can’t be lived in fast-forward. You have to take advantage of the moment RIGHT NOW.
After you write your response, skip a line and have your friend reply. Maybe your friend is a bit stuck in his/her thinking.
I see what you’re saying. But that doesn’t take away my fear of never getting there. What if I wan’t it now and I’m afraid that the work will be a waste of time?
Then skip a line, and respond again to your friend. Keep this conversation going for 10 lines or so.
The work is never a waste of time. The work will make up your whole life. And if you’re doing something you love, you’re not wasting any time. You will learn lessons; make mistakes; fall in love; fall out of love; cry; bleed; want to give up; and feel like you aren’t good enough throughout the process of getting to the end of your life. This is why we are here. You have to do what you love in order to be someone you love.

G. Positive imagery antidotes.
Now select three positive images, (real memory or imaginary), related to
Confidence and Strength in your life— Basketball court, Writing, Sunrise
Safety and Peacefulness in your life— The Stars, Reading, The rare occasion of having a good night sleep.
Love in your life— Lilly, Turning my thoughts into words/actions, Daydreaming.

Once those images are well established, imagine a real or imaginary scene related to one of your negative thoughts.
When the time feels right, move from the negative image to the positive one that feels like the right antidote, then back again to the negative image, repeating the cycle until you feel comfortable and ending the exercise with the positive image firmly in mind.

H. “I accept myself even though I ____ (do not use the word “am”).”
I accept myself even though I won’t always succeed.
I accept myself even though I won’t always succeed.
I accept myself even though I won’t always succeed.
I accept myself even though I won’t always succeed.
I accept myself even though I won’t always succeed.
I accept myself even though I won’t always succeed.
I accept myself even though I won’t always succeed.
I accept myself even though I won’t always succeed.
I accept myself even though I won’t always succeed.
I accept myself even though I won’t always succeed.

-Kelsi

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