Cognitive Restructuring

An individual’s reaction to a specific stressor will vary based off of that person’s perspective of the situation. Cognitive Restructuring is a stress management technique in which you modify your internal self-dialogue to focus on assuming responsibility, facing the reality of the situation, and taking a positive attitude to resolve the issues causing stress.

Steps to Initiate Cognitive Restructuring: Implement these steps during times of stress or negative self-talk. Remember Cognitive Restructuring is an ongoing process that will get easier with practice.
  1. Awareness: identify the stressor, why the situation/event (and what emotional attitudes associated with event) is stressful, and acknowledging the stressors presence.
  2. Reappraisal of the situation: try to think about the situation objectively. 
  3. Adoption and substitution: substitute a positive attitude towards the situation.  
  4. Evaluation: Identify if the positive attitude you adopted in step 3 is useful. If not, return to step 2 and create a new reappraisal.   
Additional Tips for Cognitive Restructuring:
  • Initiate a relaxation technique to calm your mind (meditation, deep breathing, Progressive Muscle Relaxation, etc.)
  • Take responsibility for your own thoughts
  • Adjust expectations
  • Give yourself positive affirmations
  • Accentuate the positive