Self-help Questions

These self-help questions teach you to notice your negativity. The theory behind cognitive behavioral therapy is that the way you think determines how you feel, and this in turn affects how you behave.

So if you’re depressed, angry, etc., what you’re saying to yourself is making you miserable. You can change your thinking and have a more positive outlook and then you can turn your life around. Remember every negative has a positive.

So the next time you’re feeling down, think about what you’re saying to yourself and ask yourself for concrete proof.

Self Help Questions

• Have I had any experiences that show that this thought is completely true all the time?

• If my best friend or someone I loved had this thought, what would I tell them?

• If my best friend or someone who loves me knew I was thinking this thought, what would they say to me? What evidence would they point out that would suggest that my thoughts were not 100% true?

• When I am not feeling this way, do I think about this type of situation any differently? How?

• When I have felt this way in the past, what did I think about that helped me feel better?

• Have I been in this type of situation before? What happened? Is there anything different between this situation and previous ones? What have I learned from prior experiences that could help me now?

• Are there any small things that contradict my thoughts?

• Five years from now, if I look back at this situation, will I look at it any differently? Will I focus on any different part of my experience?

• Are there any strengths or positives in me or the situation? Will I look at it any differently?

• Are there any strengths or positives in me or the situation that I am ignoring?

• Am I blaming myself for something which I do not have complete control?

It’s helpful to print this page and put in a place where you can see it. They’re good reminders to change the way you feel.

Learn the cognitive techniques to help with these questions.

(Source: Mind Over Mood by Greenberger and Padesky, The Guilford Press 1995.)