Automatic Negative Thoughts

Automatic thoughts are mental functions that occur without conscious judgment, deeply affecting our actions and emotions. These thoughts, which occur depending on the events in the environment, originate from our more stable beliefs and schemas. These thoughts are considered by the person to be true.

Negative automatic thoughts that lead to dysfunctional and unresolved moods are one of the important issues of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

Our mental functions are formed subconsciously, and it deeply affects our emotions and behaviours. When an event occurs, an automatic thought is formed in our brain. These automatic thoughts determine how we think. How we think determines how we feel.

Automatic thoughts are always with us. CBT is used to remove negative automatic thoughts replacing them with positive reinforcement and mindset change.

Typical mistakes in our automatic thoughts include the following,

  • Selective detection

  • Mind reading

  • Exaggeration

  • Disdain

  • Overgeneralisation

  • Individualisation

  • Thinking of all or nothing

  • Illusion of control

  • Arbitrary inference

  • Labelling

  • Emotional decisions

After irrational beliefs have been identified, we need to work on challenging the negative thoughts on the basis of evidence from our experiences by reframing it, meaning to re-interpret it in a more realistic light. This helps the us to develop more rational beliefs and healthy coping strategies.

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