What is Cognitive Restructuring?

Darryl Bachmeier
Nov 2, 2020

Cognitive restructuring describes a vibrant technique to understand unhappy moods and feelings. It is essential for challenging the wrong and automatic beliefs that result from bad moods. This method can help to reframe the negative thinking that we experience over time. Bad moods can undermine your relationships with family and friends. They can lower your performance quality and they are generally unpleasant. The cognitive restructuring approach will enable you to change the distorted and negative thinking that results from low moods. In other words, it will enable you to approach all matters with a positive mindset. Psychologist Albert Ellis developed the procedure in the mid-1950s. It bases on other psychologist reports, and it is a core component in CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). CBT is a unique method that you can use to change and control negative thoughts. A negative mindset is prone to result in damaging behaviors. Therefore, you must attempt to control it.

Cognitive Restructuring Application

This method has successfully treated several health conditions such as stress, relationship issues, social phobias, anxiety, addictions, PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), and depression. In 2007, a study explained that it helps to treat severe grief. In 2003, another study stated that the technique helps to reduce the effects and symptoms of PTSD. The method is also useful in dealing with less severe health conditions, including day-to-day negative thoughts. It can help you improve your mood anytime you have a terrible day. Thus, it can enable you to think positively before a job interview, performance review, or when you plan to speak in public. It will allow you to overcome the fear of failure and beating self-sabotage.

How Does Cognitive Restructuring Work?

The steps below can help you use Cognitive Restructuring rightly. It comprises of an 8-column thought record framework that can give you a deeper understanding of the technique. The steps include:

Calm Yourself

You may find it challenging to use this technique if you are still stressed or upset about the thoughts you would like to explore. You must use deep breathing or meditation to calm yourself if you are upset or stressed.

Identify the Situation

You must evaluate and describe the situation that caused the wrong thoughts or negative mood.

Analyze your Mood

It would be best to evaluate and write down your mood due to the situation. They can be the actual feelings you have about the problem, but they are not the final thoughts. Experts explain that it is simple to distinguish between thoughts and moods. Thoughts are somewhat complicated, but you can describe your mood in one word.

Identify Automatic Thoughts

The next step would be to evaluate and write down the automatic thoughts or natural reactions towards the mood. It might affect factors such as the future, arguments, arrogance, rudeness, failure, and analysis skills.

Identify the Objective Supportive Evidence

You must find any evidence that can objectively support your natural reactions. You must look objectively at the situation and write specific comments or events that caused your natural reactions.

Identify the Objective Contradictory Evidence

You must evaluate and write down any evidence that tends to contradict your natural reactions. These reactions might include minor flaws, objective analysis, and others’ opinions.

Find Balanced and fair Thoughts

At this stage, you already have a clear overview of the situation. Thus, you must take a balanced and fair view of the whole event. If you still have uncertainties, you must consider discussing the problem with a third party. You must question every aspect of the situation and formulate an unbiased view of the matter. Hence, you must write down your balanced thoughts about it.

Monitor your Current Mood

At this stage, you will evaluate the matter in a better way. Besides, you will feel some level of improvement in your general mood about the situation. Make sure that you record how you feel. Next, you must try to relate the decisions you can make at this stage and the decisions you would have made earlier. Henceforth, create a positive affirmation that can help you to work out similar situations rightly.


It would be best to ensure that you take your time to evaluate the situation at hand before making the final decision. Reacting quickly to any situation, especially when you are in a bad mood, can negatively affect decisions. You must learn to follow the steps we discussed above so that you can make the right decision. Above all, the Cognitive Restructuring process will help you to boost your mindset. You must make sure that you do not make decisions that lead you to regrets. The procedure is helpful to your mindset and health in general. It is also crucial for your business success. All in all, it can give you a better understanding of your situation for you to get better results all the time.

2020 © Zenbo Services Ltd. All rights reserved.