How to Reframe a Negative Thought with a Thought Record

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on November 2, 2011


Many of you have asked me if I could talk about things I have learned in therapy since I announced back in the summer that I was going back into therapy for my struggles with anxiety.

Well, first off, I didn’t end up going right away. It took me about 1.5 months to find a therapist who would fit my budget. After a long search, I found a very nice lady who offers a sliding scale because her therapy office is based out of a church. I had almost given up on it and then was thrilled when I found her.

My therapist uses a multimodal approach with a focus on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which helps us understand how our thoughts and feelings influence our behaviours. CBT was also one of my favourite forms of therapy that I learned about in grad school.

We all have thoughts that tend to be so automatic we don’t question or challenge them. For example, “I’ll never be able to find a job that I love because I’m not exceptional at anything.” or “It must be my fault that they don’t like me because there’s something wrong with me.” It’s amazing when you stop and think about how many negative thoughts go through the mind each day.

CBT helps bring awareness to these thoughts that lead us to have incorrect beliefs about ourselves and our situations. In the past, I’ve had great success when using CBT methods, especially when in recovery for my eating disorder.

In therapy, we’ve been able to identify that a large part of my anxiety is due to personal issues from my past and also that I make false assumptions and predictions about events in the future. I tend to predict that a situation will go poorly, when in fact, I have no evidence that this is the case.

One of my favourite forms of CBT is the Thought Record. The great thing about it is that it can be used by anyone, anywhere.

The Thought Record has been very helpful for me to reframe automatic thoughts. The more you use it, the easier it is to fill out and catch your negative thoughts in the process. Once you practice, you can even start doing it in your head if you find yourself in the middle of an anxiety-provoking situation.

If you click the image below, the Thought Record will pop up in PDF format that you can print for yourself.


Here’s an example of what each column means:

1. The situation/trigger. Briefly describe the situation that led to your unpleasant feelings.

For example, “a work presentation”.

2. Feelings. What do you feel?

For example, “Anxiety, guilt, doubt, fear.”

3. Unhelpful thoughts/images. Identify the negative thinking (or “hot thought”) behind your feelings.

For example, “My presentation is going to go horrible and my boss is going to think that I’m bad at my job. I’m a failure.”

4. Facts that support the thought. Find evidence that supports your unhelpful thought.

For example, “My boss has told me in the past that she’s disappointed with my presentation skills.” and “I didn’t prepare as much as I should have.”

5. Facts that don’t support the thought. Facts that provide evidence against your unhelpful thought.

For example, “I have worked on my presentation skills since my poor review and I have improved.” and “I’m not a failure and I’m doing my best.” and “Everyone has bad days at work.”

6. Give an alternative/more balance thought. Now that you’ve considered the facts, write down a healthier way of thinking.

For example, “While I have struggled with presentations before, I’ve practiced and prepared for this presentation and have no proof that this will not go well.”

7. Outcome. Re-rate how you feel now.

“Less anxious” “calmer” “reassured”

That’s just one small example that it can be used for, but it can be applied to so many different types of situations, thoughts, and personal struggles. It’s a really helpful tool to use for body image issues because many of us tend to have automatic negative thoughts about our body that can impact our entire day. Sometimes all you need is to re-frame your thought and move on with your day.

Of course, it takes a bit of practice to be able to reframe a thought (and find evidence that doesn’t support it), but it will get easier over time. Also, not every thought record that you do is going to be life-changing, but I can assure you that some of the ones I have done have really impacted me.

The first time I did the thought record with my therapist, I had this major ‘a-ha’ moment. She helped me write a more balanced thought (I actually couldn’t think of one, so she filled one out for me) and it brought me to tears because something just clicked inside of me. It was amazing how it helped me see a situation in a new light that I’d never thought about before. That one moment has had a huge impact on how I now think about the situation.

The Thought Record makes my thoughts more realistic and balanced, when anxiety tends to make them very up and down and unbalanced. With practice it helps you slow down or stop those automatic thoughts in their tracks. I find that I can “catch” them fairly quick now, recognize them for what they are, and realize that my thinking is not realistic or fair. It sure beats going along in life accepting every negative thought that comes to mind.

If you feel yourself stuck on an issue, try using the Thought Record. It may just help you see something in a new way!

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{ 137 comments… read them below or add one }

Shanna, Like Banana November 2, 2011 at 10:55 am

There’s actually a great book that goes through this whole process, but wouldn’t you know I don’t recall the name. It’s large, white, and paperback though..does that help? haha.

I did a group CBT class and did not care for it, but that’s due to the setting. I can absolutely appreicate the process however!


Lucy November 2, 2011 at 11:15 am

Might that book be Mind Over Mood?


Shanna, Like Banana November 2, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Yes! That’s the one — very good book!


Sarah November 2, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Shanna- I think the book you are talking about is called Mind Over Mood by Denise Greenberger. It is a really good book to read!

Angela- Great post!! Thanks for shareing! :)


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 2, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Thanks Sarah!


Katie November 2, 2011 at 10:55 am

Angela – it’s like you read my mind! I”ve caught myself ‘negative voice spiraling’ this week and while I’m getting much better at catching it early, this sounds like a great approach to try. Thank you!!


Amanda November 2, 2011 at 10:57 am

Thank you so much for posting this Thought Record and sharing your experience. I also experience a lot of anxiety, particularly in new situations. I tend to expect the worst, and then I find that I’m sometimes setting myself up for disappointment, or at the very least, making a perfectly pleasant experience stressful.

A lot of my anxiety comes from not wanting to let other people down or embarrass myself, and I find that it’s helpful to step outside my head for a minute and consider what I would say to a friend in a similar situation. Most of the time, I would never tell anyone else the things I say in y own head. It helps to remind myself that no one wants me to fail, and so I shouldn’t stress so much over the “what if’s” of not being “perfect”. Like you said in your example, we all have bad days, and if I have one, no one is going to think less of me.


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 2, 2011 at 11:05 am

Well said Amanda!


Kim November 2, 2011 at 12:29 pm

I feel the exact same as you! My anxiety is pretty similar in that I’m terrified of what people are thinking about me if I were to make a mistake in some way or say something wrong. I find that I’m overly critical of myself and would never be as critical of someone else as I am of myself. Thanks for sharing!


Aine @ Something to Chew Over November 2, 2011 at 10:59 am

Thanks for sharing Angela – I think this is an approach which a lot of people would benefit from.


Cat @Breakfast to Bed November 2, 2011 at 11:02 am

Ugh, this is so hard for me. No one is harder on me than I am. Thank you for posting this.


Kaila @healthyhelperblog! November 2, 2011 at 11:05 am

needed this! thanks ange!


amanda November 2, 2011 at 11:09 am

read the book “Feeling Good”, it’s basically an in depth book all about CBT. has helped me get through bouts of depression and negativity


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 2, 2011 at 11:49 am

Thanks I will have to check it out!


Lillian November 2, 2011 at 11:10 am

Thanks for sharing this, Angela! I’m a champion when it comes to the downward spiral of negative thinking, and this will be really helpful as I try to not go down that path so often. Thank you for being so brave and honest about expressing what you’re thinking and feeling – it’s greatly appreciated. :)


Beth November 2, 2011 at 11:10 am

Thank you for sharing. I’m actually reading “Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Dummies” right now, as prescribed to me. It’s interesting, though I think I’ve been thinking negatively for so long that it’s hard for me to catch myself when I do it. This Thought Record will help. Thanks!


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 2, 2011 at 11:48 am

it is very tough at first and it takes a long time. I still probably miss 85% of them, but the ones I do catch increase in frequency overtime.


Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat November 2, 2011 at 11:11 am

Good post Ange! I learned a bit about CBT when I did my psych minor in university and found it really interesting. It sounded to me like a very logical way to go about reducing problems like anxiety. I think a log like this can be really helpful, especially when we can be quick to jump to conclusions and thing catastrophic thoughts without even realizing it at first. Sounds like you learned lots from the therapist!


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 2, 2011 at 11:48 am

Logical is a very good way to put it…and I find with my own thoughts being so illogical it provides a great balance!


Amanda November 2, 2011 at 11:17 am

Angela – thank you for this! I’ve been in CBT since this past spring (mostly for depression, but as these things go, we’ve dug up a bunch of fun stuff to deal with!) and negative thinking is one of my biggest hurdles – along with codependency and a complete lack of faith in myself. This chart is EXACTLY what I need to help me acknowledge the triggers and then let them go. I can’t wait to show my therapist next week – I think she’ll LOVE it!


Nicole November 2, 2011 at 11:19 am

A thought triangle (which i couldn’t find a good image of) is another cool CBT tool. Basically, it’s the same concept as a mood journal/log, but you work the triangle backwards and consider how you’d like to feel in a given scenario, then decide how you need to behave to promote those feeligns, and finally consider what thoughts would encourage you to perform the behavior that promotes the feeling. Hard to explain via comment, but I find it more effective than mood longs. So glad you are sharing your therapy experience. Therapy has such a stigma attached and it’s really not a big deal—everyone could benefit from talking to an objective, third party!


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 2, 2011 at 1:31 pm

I’ve done that before (a long time ago in university) thanks for reminding me of it…going to look it up now :)


Kathryn November 2, 2011 at 11:20 am

Thank you. My negative thoughts are rediculous. I didn’t realize how bad it was until I started writing in a journal. I was even talking to a fellow yoga teacher and she told me stop being so hard on yourself! I didn’t even realize how much I was talking down about my self.

I appreciate how willing you are to share.


Nikki November 2, 2011 at 11:20 am

I did CBT based therapy for three years and it was super, duper helpful. Once I got my anxiety under control, however, my therapy sessions became too much like to friends just chatting. So I switched to a psychodynamic therapist. I highly recommend trying both kinds of therapy if you can afford to do so. I have found that psychodynamic therapy allows me to explore the reasons why I came to have negative thoughts in the first place. I’m not saying either kind of therapy is better, I have just found them both to be really useful.


Caitlin @ The Caitie Experiment November 2, 2011 at 11:29 am

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy honestly changed my entire life. I put off finding a therapist for my social anxiety issues for SO LONG because I was convinced that I would be handed a prescription for meds and shown the door (I do think medication has a purpose and a place, I just didn’t want to be blind-prescribed if there was an alternative that would work for me). It took getting to the point of barely leaving my dorm room for me to finally get help. Thankfully, my university’s health services program had a therapist who specialized in CBT and they referred me to her. I didn’t have this exact thought record, but I did have a similar one as “homework” that I had for in-between sessions, and the most important exercises I did (later on) were the ones that forced me into the exact situations that provoked my anxiety. Seeing that they rarely, if ever, turned out in the horrible ways I’d imagined changed my entire line of thinking. I’m not in therapy now, but I am thankful every single day for those lessons I learned!

Thanks for writing about this, Angela. It’s easy for people to dismiss anxiety issues as something “everyone deals with” and to misunderstand the severity and implications they can cause. I’m glad you’ve been so open with your struggles; it’s nice to see someone in the blog world admit that sometimes, we can’t fix everything ourselves. I know a lot of your readers appreciate your honesty.


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 2, 2011 at 11:47 am

I’m so happy to hear that it was so helpful for you. I can relate a lot to your experiences. Thanks so much for sharing!


Natalcho November 2, 2011 at 11:30 am

I have read a lot about CBT and I was very sceptical in the beginning. Then I found a list of common assumptions that people have which are not necessarily based in reality and I could recognize my attitude to life in a lot of them:
– If I don’t worry something will go wrong. Check
– The world should work as I want it to. Check
– I should always be happy. Check
Once I read about these assumptions in detail and why they are not necessarily true it really opened my eyes to the fact that I CAN have a different attitude to many situations. It is just a question of taking the time to think about the situation in detail rather than jumping to conclusions. It takes time but as I practice being more aware and mindful it has really helped with a lot of issues.


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 2, 2011 at 11:46 am

I’ve read that too ( actually I think we went over that checklist on the first day!) and it was helpful.


Natalie November 2, 2011 at 11:31 am

I really like when you post entries like this. I think of this as a “wellness” blog, inc. emotional, spiritual, and physical. I like exercise posts, and emotional posts like this one. For a while I found it a little too recipe heavy, although those are fun to try and read also.

Also, thanks. This chart came after an anxiety provoking situation in my day and I tried running through the tactics.


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 2, 2011 at 11:45 am

Thanks for your feedback Natalie!


Pamela | Girl Gone West November 2, 2011 at 11:33 am

I needed to read this today, Angela. Thank you.

I’ve been dealing with some seriously negative thoughts about a potentially great relationship I’m falling into because I’m new to this city AND he’s my coworker. I’ve been wracked with fear that I’m not interesting or beautiful enough for him, when in reality there is NO evidence to support any idea other than that he thinks I’m fun, enjoyable, and desirable. I hate anxiety, but I think I rationalize my anxiety as “logic” when it fact it is ANYTHING but logical.

Good luck with your healing, and thank you for helping me with mine.


[email protected] Palate November 2, 2011 at 11:34 am

Great post and something which I might try and put to use myself. Thanks! :)


Katie @ Peace Love and Oats November 2, 2011 at 11:35 am

it is so true that we are constantly thinking negative thoughts that have no factual support! This is a great technique that I should try and use!


kathleen @ the daily crumb November 2, 2011 at 11:39 am

angela i am so happy you wrote this post. so many of us struggle with issues similar to yours but are not brave enough to proactively seek help. thank you for always being a inspiration for strength.


Sush Gollapudi November 2, 2011 at 11:39 am

CBT is a great tool. I go through anxiety as well and my therapist taught me one method called the HALT method whenever something I start to panic or get really anxious about something. I found a lot of the times there were other things that weer triggering the intensity of what I was feeling, and HALT can help you figure that out. You ask yourself: Am I Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. When you start to think it out and reason with yourself, anxiety kind of dissipates and you feel a little more sane :) It has helped me out quite a bit.


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 2, 2011 at 11:44 am

I love that!


Tanya @ theskyandback November 2, 2011 at 11:40 am

Hi Angela,

I am new to your blog, but I’ve already made a bunch of your recipes and loved them (my favorites being the pumpkin pie brownie and the pumpkin gingerbread smoothie–OMG so good). Thanks for this post. As a fellow anxiety-struggler, I really appreciate your openness about the topic. Anxiety is a mean and scary monster, but learning to identify negative thought patterns is half the battle.


Gayatri November 2, 2011 at 11:43 am

Thanks for posting this Angela. Your openness and willingness to share such personal issues is what makes your blog so special. You have helped me immensely and I’m sure you’ve helped many others too.


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 2, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Thanks, that is sweet!


Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers November 2, 2011 at 11:50 am

Interesting! As a social science nerd, I always like reading about this kind of stuff. :)


Char @ November 2, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Thank you for this! I’m going to give the thought sheet a try.

I’ve been talking to my counselor again about anxiety, too, & she’s really been helping me put perspective into it. For example, I had a particularly hard time asking for help awhile ago (I often do, but this time I was becoming bitter), so I talked to her about it. I realized that this was an OLD fear, a fear of asking for help, and though it used to be a real one, it’s not realistic for the people who are in my life NOW. Since then, I’ve been able to ask for help without fear.

It’s interesting how the brain can hold onto old thought patterns, and it can be tough to break through them sometimes. I’m just thankful for self-awareness, and thankful that I’m not the only one who struggles. Have a beautiful day, Angela :)


Hayley @ Oat Couture November 2, 2011 at 12:08 pm

This is fantastic, good for you girl! I completely believe this will work, it’s all just about adjusting your instantaneous negative thoughts and replacing them with more truthful and positive ones. Interested to see how well it works over time! :)


Kiran @ November 2, 2011 at 12:13 pm

What an eye-opening story – thank you so much for sharing your struggles and how you are coping with it. There’s many people out there going through similar issues (including me) and aren’t brave enough to be open. Salute to your honesty and bravery :D


Jaclyn T November 2, 2011 at 12:15 pm

I am a big proponent of thought records–the concept can be adapted to appeal to many people. I plan on using them when I am an official counsellor (i.e., once I graduate from my MEd in Counselling Psychology). Thanks for posting this…anxiety is so prevalent and people can benefit so much from talking to someone and/or employing coping strategies. I personally find exercise and eating healthfully, in addition to positive self-speak, is key.

–Jaclyn T
TrickArt Jewellery: Nature Inspired


Linda November 2, 2011 at 12:15 pm

I also struggle with anxiety, where abouts is this lady? (I live in Ontario as well)


Amber K November 2, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Dealing with my anxiety is one of the hardest things I do in a day. I think when it hits me my mind is racing so quickly I don’t know if I could actually force myself to stop and take myself out of it. Well, I’m trying at least. I’m just not always successful. This does look like a good tool to get myself in the right direction.


Sondi November 2, 2011 at 12:23 pm

What a great post. I recently visited an intuitive, energetic healer and she helped me realize that I was even having these negative thoughts in the first place! The thinking was so ingrained in my head I didn’t even realize it was happening. I really like the idea of a thought record – it’s a concrete way for me to reframe my negative thought patterns.


Cait's Plate November 2, 2011 at 12:27 pm

I absolutely loved this post (as always). I’ve bookmarked it and will be visiting it often when I need the reminder!


Dalai Lina November 2, 2011 at 12:32 pm

That is really nice. I like how you have become a teacher of much more than food!


Kim November 2, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Thank you so much for sharing posts like this! I struggle with anxiety and negative thinking too. I’m trying to find a therapist in my area that I can afford but in the meantime I’m working on recognizing my negative thinking and re-framing how I think about things. I’m definitely going to be using the thought record!


Krystina (Organically Me) November 2, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Thank you so much, I needed something like this.

Also, I’m so glad you’ve found help and are doing what’s best for you to be happier.


David November 2, 2011 at 1:10 pm

This was fantastic…I came here originally for the wonderful recipes, but the realistic and honest approach to understanding life and how to deal with it is refreshing.


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 2, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Thank you David!


suzanne November 2, 2011 at 1:11 pm

This is a great post Angela- as a therapist, I know CBT helps many people – it is nice to have something concrete to work with. I also would reinforce the necessity of dealing with the core issues – as you noted – since our negative thinking does not come from nowhere! Once you deal with these, and you change the thought patterns – you are more free to be truly who you are in your essence. That is a beautiful thing…and it is phenomenal that you share your process in such a respectful and authentic way. Thank you


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 2, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Thank you Suzanne! I totally agree about addressing core issues…without it, I don’t think real progress can happen.


suzanne November 2, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Yes, as my therapist says, “If we are not walking on water…we are not done yet”.(I feel it is crucial as a therapist to stay on top of my own ‘stuff’ – and there is an endless amount of it!) It is one of the rewards and challenges of this life to release our outer layers so we can let our inner selves shine as we are meant to.
Another suggestion which is infinitely helpful… and effortless, is guided imagery. Belleruth Naparstek is AMAZING and has a CD /audio for anxiety as well. It is a mind-body -spirit method of going into your subconscious and changing old patterns. The best is that you can listen to it as you go to sleep and it still goes into your subconscious and does its work (plus makes you sleep better too). Her website is


Rachael @ FreshlyMinted November 2, 2011 at 1:18 pm

This is a powerful tool.

I have struggled with fairly severe anxiety since childhood (panic disorder and agoraphobia). Though I now have my anxiety issues largely under control, I’ve recently realized how often I subconsciously orchestrate my life to reduce stress and potential “triggers”. I have walked through many exercises that have helped, but this is a new one that seems to have a lot of potential (even for those “little” moments when I feel flashes of worry).

Thank you for sharing!


SallyH November 2, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Thank you for this post. I have just started CBT based therapy about 6 months ago and it has been incredibly difficult to overcome this level of anxiety. It is so helpful to read someone else’s experience with this too and the pdf you provided isn’t something I’ve seen before, but may help me make the process I’m learning in therapy more concrete.


Rebecca November 2, 2011 at 1:55 pm

I love this post. I have been dealing with anxiety for awhile now. I have always been a worry-wart but have found that lately I have struggled more and more with things like panic attacks and really negative thinking. It can be so hard to get yourself out a rough patch and while I can usually do it, it still is always a struggle and takes some time. I want to use the Thought Record whenever I feel that way, because my feelings and thoughts have been holding me back from so much lately. All of the comments with more ideas and tips on how to overcome the negativity is great! I’m so glad you posted this!


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 2, 2011 at 2:48 pm

I hope you find it useful Rebecca! :)


Fatou November 2, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Hi Angela!
I’ve been visiting your blog for 2 months or so now, and I always leave it feeling good. Wethere it’s your delicious recipes, your wit or your kind personality that can be felt through the computer. Not to mention all the helpful tid bits you share. Thank you for always been so open and honest. This is a great and helpful post as usual! :-)


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 2, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Thank you, that means a lot to me :)


Erica November 2, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Thought records are such an amazing tool! I used them myself when I did CBT, and I use them with my counselling clients all the time. Thanks for sharing.


Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga November 2, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Ahhh, when I was in undergrad and in grad school studying psychology, CBT was always something that resonated so strongly with me. I feel that it’s practical, useful, and people see results with it.

I love you spelling out the Thought Record. I’ve seen things and info like this before but it’s been awhile :)

Glad you have found something that works for YOU. I have mental chit-chat with myself that’s similar to The Thought Record when I am working on my own stuff in my own head :)


Kat November 2, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Very useful — I think that almost everyone I know deals with anxiety on some level, or at least a thought cycle that doesn’t serve them in a positive way.

Thanks for sharing! I’m going to try this out :)


Jane November 2, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Hi Angela!
I’m really glad to hear that you have found a therapist and tool to help you with difficult thinking. I’ve been dealing with some difficult times/anxiety myself and I’d love to share a book with you that has helped me tremendously. It’s called Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? The focus is creating what you want in life through visualization and meditation. Basically how to work at controlling your thoughts, which will in turn gain the life and you are looking for and person you are hoping to be. Amazing things have happened for people after reading this book (its been around for 25 years). It has lead me to a strong meditation practice and a wonderful way to try and work through difficult thinking situations.

Anyway, I’ve been wanting to mention this book to you since reading it. If you are interested and get the chance to pick it up let I’d love to hear what you think.

my best to you!

Oh! I almost forgot! I made your PB graham crackers this morning for the first time and I made them gluten and refined sugar free. Good stuff! I plan to use them in almond or peanut butter cups :)


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 2, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Hey Jane,

I have heard of this book before, but I’ve never checked it out. I will keep my eyes peeled for it at the library. Thanks for the info!


Jane November 2, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Oops! Sorry I was in a rush and forgot to go over the above comment before posting! I apologize for the grammar/spelling errors! :)


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 2, 2011 at 2:50 pm

typos are the story of my life! No worries. :)


Anna @ The Guiltless Life November 2, 2011 at 2:47 pm

When I first started struggling with anxiety at the age of 16 I went into CBT for 2 years and it was amazing.

My thought processes are not perfect now, but it is so much easier for me to identify where they’re going wrong and to quickly slip those techniques back into my thoughts so I correct them.

The thing is, it takes our whole lifetimes to build up the patterns our thoughts have now. It takes a lot of time and dedication to undo those patterns, but if you put in the work it DOES pay off and it’s so worth it! Thanks so much for sharing, Angela, I am sure this will help so many people!


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 2, 2011 at 2:51 pm

I truly agree. It can be very frustrating (I tend to want immediate results too), but it’s worth the effort.


Burnsy November 2, 2011 at 3:00 pm

I don’t have anxiety per say, but I often struggle with negative thinking and making assumptions which I then spin into mental storylines. It can take a toll on your relationships – especially the one with yourself! I started going to a therapist at the same time I started taking my son with ADHD to a therapist to work on behavior modification for him and some strategies for me in working with him without losing my sanity. My therapist recommended “Come to Your Senses” by Stanley Block, PhD and it has been incredibly helpful. He teaches you how to do different ‘maps’ when you get caught up in anxiety or storylines much like CBT. He also talks about how our mind gets tricks us into thinking that we are damaged from our past, present, whatever it is. We also put requirements on ourselves and other people (that we aren’t even aware of) that can never be met. It is a fast and fabulous read for everyone! He also teaches you how to tune into your body and listen to what it is telling you which we all don’t take the time to do. Thanks for the post Angela!


AGS November 2, 2011 at 3:03 pm

What a timely post! I used CBT with a therapist several years ago, when I was working through something difficult, and it was quite helpful. I’ve really been struggling with negativity lately — particularly when I compare myself to others in my field — and I tend to start to spiral downward with self-doubt. I think I’ll practise reframing my thoughts a bit, so that I can more easily control that downward spiral.

Also, I am excited to report that I revised my poundcake recipe to vegan standards (I made your coconut butter), and it was a big hit with my mother-in-law. It was still a bit heavy, so some additional tweaking is required. . .


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 3, 2011 at 6:32 am

I hope you find it helpful :)

vegan poundcake? Swoon!


Caitlin @ Vegetarian in the City November 2, 2011 at 3:19 pm

thank you for this post. so often i find myself trapped in this kind of self doubt! i love the steps to help resolve these feelings (and i can totally relate to the presentation skills example)!


Moni'sMeals November 2, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Angela, you just impress me more and more and more. :)

This is such a great post and helpful, to I think just about all of us. I was not aware of a Thought Record. Thank you for your courage and strength of sharing yet again.


saretta November 2, 2011 at 4:44 pm

Good for you for being proactive and taking steps to help yourself live a more satisfying life!


Kyndra November 2, 2011 at 5:19 pm

It’s awesome that you’re posting this. I suffer from anxiety & depression (the two go hand in hand for me), and when I first started having panic attacks, I didn’t tell a soul. One, because I didn’t know what was going on, & two, I was so embarrassed (hey, negative thought!). I suffered in silence for years. I did tell my MD but they just threw pills at me that made me numb. So I helped myself through self help books. It worked for a time, until I had my first major depressive episode. Then I sought help, and good for you for shopping around. I took what I first found because I was desperate, and she ended up making it so much worse. As soon as I was strong enough, I ended that relationship & found someone else, literally across the street. My new therapist did a loose version of CBT and helped me learn to reframe thoughts. She saved my live. & she helped me realize it’s not embarrassing, that it’s just life, and it happens, and no one person is singled out.
Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for sharing, it helps motivate myself (also I have a degree in Psychology, so I really relate to you) and make me feel a whole lot less alone. Thank you, thank you, thank you.


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 3, 2011 at 6:31 am

Hi Kyndra, Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. I’m so happy to hear that you were able to find someone that could help you.


Hannah November 2, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Congrats on your progress with anxiety and thank you SO much for sharing! I bookmarked the Thought Record :)


Danielle November 2, 2011 at 6:10 pm

Thank you so much for sharing this! My goal for this month is to work on having a more positive attitude, both in my daily interactions with others and my own thoughts. This tool should be very helpful.


lynn @ the actor's diet November 2, 2011 at 7:35 pm

thanks so much for blogging about this – your honesty is so helpful to many!


jsoleil November 2, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Thank you so much for this Angela. I’ve followed your blog for a while and it’s wonderful how honest you are about struggles we all have but aren’t vocal enough about.
I’ve found N.E.T. and applied Kinesiology by my Chiropractor very helpful as well.
I’ve never heard of CBT before, it sounds a lot like the beliefs of Zen Buddhism that I’ve been reading. Can you recommend a book on CBT you may have found helpful (I’m with you on the not being able to afford to go to a therapist!)
Thanks so much!


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 3, 2011 at 6:30 am

Hey Jacquie! A few commenters suggested some books, I would check those out that were mentioned to see if it’s what you are looking for. All the best!


michelle s November 2, 2011 at 8:38 pm

As someone who teaches CBT to clients, I love your illustration of the process! You are definitely using it well and I hope your progress continues!


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 3, 2011 at 6:29 am

Thanks Michelle!


Laura D November 2, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Thank you so much for posting this today. This really resonated with my life, as I am currently seeking therapy for anxiety in relation to binge eating. Strangely enough, this was exactly the topic we talked about in my appointment this week and my doctor gave me similar sheets to use. I am glad to see someone else has used them successfully. Another tool I have been using that has been very helpful has been the book “Minding the Body, Mending the Mind” by Dr. Jane Borysenko. It has really opened up my eyes to the power of mindfulness in daily life.

As always, you are incredibly inspiring!


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 3, 2011 at 6:28 am

Thank you Laura! I will check out that book :)
I’m glad that your therapy is helping you too.


Marie November 2, 2011 at 9:37 pm

I think it is awesome that you are sharing your journey with this!! It really shows that you love yourself so much not to help yourself in whatever area of life you need physical or mental! Thank you for being an inspiration


Elizabeth November 2, 2011 at 9:44 pm

Thanks for this post. I’m currently a grad student studying counseling psychology and writing a paper today asking about our “strengths” i really couldn’t think of any. At the moment I’m just feeling like I’m not “exceptional” at anything, like you said in your post. I think that it takes courage to work on changing your thought processes, and something I need to work on! Thanks for your more personal posts they are usually quite inspiring to me!


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 3, 2011 at 6:28 am

If you are studying counseling psychology that tells me that you have an inner desire to helps others. I can’t imagine a better strength to have. :)


Kait November 2, 2011 at 10:06 pm

What a timely post.

Last week it took a doctor (a surgeon of all specialists) for me to see how far my physical issues have progressed. I had gotten so stuck in the, “I’m broken/in pain/unable to do x, y, and z” that I forgot to recognize the progress I have made!

Then, tonight was the first time in far too long (many months) where that bright shiny part of me was able to drown out the evil Gremlin in my mind and I could hear the words, “I’m proud of you.” It brought me to tears right on my yoga mat, and then on the ride home when I repeated it over and over and over out loud.

Its amazing how much of our lives we live on auto-pilot. I love my yoga practice because it forces me to slow down and be present with all of my emotions, good, bad, or otherwise. I LOVE the idea of the thought record because it is another mindfulness tool. And I think we could all probably use it.



Angela (Oh She Glows) November 3, 2011 at 6:26 am

I love yoga because of that too :) I’m glad that you experienced that feeling!


Kait November 3, 2011 at 9:12 am

Me too…I really really needed it. :)


Leslie November 2, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Thank you for posting this! I am going through CBT right now and do feel it is a very effective. It’s good to hear other peoples success stories using this technique. I appreciate your honesty in this post :)


Katie November 2, 2011 at 11:04 pm

Thank you so much for this post, Angela! Your Daily Glow blog posts inspired me to make an appointment with a therapist a few months ago…of course it was a long waiting period for the first appointment, which will be in a few weeks.
The way you describe how you picture negative outcomes because of events in your past sounds so much like me. It’s so uplifting to read your entries and hear about strategies like this that are working for you. I’ll try doing a thought record in my journal and see if it helps me too :)
My question, though: how do you stop yourself from analyzing past events where, say, the anxiety and negative thoughts influenced your actions? Whenever I feel like I have a personal “aha” moment, I sometimes revert back to certain situations in my past and think “why couldn’t I have THEN harnessed the self-love and confidence I’m feeling now, then xyz wouldn’t have happened, etc.” It’s so difficult not to beat myself up and forgive myself.


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 3, 2011 at 6:25 am

That is hard to do for sure. What has been working for me is allowing myself to feel those emotions of regret, or whatever they happen to be. It’s ok not to feel positive or proud of the way we’ve handled situations in the past- we’re only human. I try to channel those feelings as a reminder for what I want in the FUTURE and give myself examples of times when I didn’t let anxiety take over and how good I felt.


Annie November 2, 2011 at 11:47 pm

I’ve always thought of anxiety as a disorder that has isolated me from others, so its heartening to see not only your post, but also those of all your readers. Thank you for reminding me that I’m not alone and that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 3, 2011 at 6:21 am

Thanks Annie :)


Azra November 3, 2011 at 12:42 am

Angela, you are just amazing for sharing your hopes and fears with us. You have inspired me to seek a therapist myslef and tackle my eating and other issues. Thank you!


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 3, 2011 at 6:20 am

That’s great to hear, I hope it’s helpful for you. :)


fanik November 3, 2011 at 2:55 am

Thanks for that. I have to try it!


B'klynHeart November 3, 2011 at 4:57 am

Once again I find you posting something I’m needing myself at just the right time. My love of oatmeal initially led me to you (and I think it makes me love oatmeal all the more).

Lately I’ve been struggling with my exercise (thank you workout log challenge) and with negative thoughts about weight, life, the universe and everything. I welcome the idea of doing something proactive instead of just letting negativity eat at me.

Thank you for your bravery, courage, and inspiration.

Ah, and the recipes too! Especially the oatmeal ones. :)


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 3, 2011 at 6:20 am

Proactive all the way :) Glad that you enjoyed the posts!


Kat Warlick November 3, 2011 at 5:26 am

You should check out the book by Dr. Daniel G. Amen, Change Your Brain, Change Your Body. I caught him on a PBS special and was blown awayl Bought the book and double wow. It really helps on all aspects of life. One chapter your post made me think of is Ants. (Automatic Negative Thoughts). He tells how to overcome them similar to your post. Anyway, it’s a great book. Hope you will check it out!


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 3, 2011 at 6:19 am

Thanks Kat, I will check it out!


Ruth November 3, 2011 at 5:55 am

Thanks so much for this post, Angela. I used a similar thing while in therapy but had forgotten about putting it into practice. It is amazing how easy it is to believe untrue thoughts!


Jess @ Jess Go Bananas November 3, 2011 at 6:02 am

Great post Angela! I am glad that you found a great therapist who can help! I think this chart is a very clever idea and can help anybody including myself! :D


Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers November 3, 2011 at 6:28 am

I love your post today! It’s nice to read, and learn from others about different topics then just food!! I try to be optimistic about everything and I always look at the positive, but I have a Husband who is Mr. Negative and he always makes me feel doubtful and bad about myself. I’m glad I have enough strength inside to ignore most of his comments, but sometimes it’s hurtful. He just doesn’t understand me, he doesn’t get blogging, he doesn’t get exercising, and he doesn’t get being healthy, it’s so hard to be strong and not self doubt when you live with that!


helen @ change comes from within November 3, 2011 at 6:57 am

My therapist gave me exactly the same thought sheet to use. Seeing it again in black and white on your blog has actually made me feel a bit emotional, weirdly. Anxiety is such a hard and horrible thing to live with. I don’t ever think I, personally, will escape it but I think it can be managed and controlled.

I worked so so hard when I first tried CBT, you really have to want to change when undertaking it don’t you? Like you said you have to be proactive.

Something else I use are some worry questions to nip anxiety in the bud when it rears it’s oh so ugly head when I am out and about or something and a thought sheet isn’t practical. I have them stuck in the back of my diary. They might help you too:

What is the evidence to support my worry?
What is the evidence against my worry?
How would someone else view this situation? (choose someone rational, I use my mum or my husband)
Am I making a thinking error here? Thinking errors include catastrophising, jumpkng to conclusions, black and white thinking

I am so sorry you have to deal with anxiety though. Dig deep, keep strong and you will get through it.


The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh November 3, 2011 at 8:05 am

The hubby’s work provides stress reducing techniques and this is one of them. It really helped him deal with his work stress when he was suffering burnout.


Katie November 3, 2011 at 8:57 am

Thank you so much for posting this!!! I am so happy to hear that you have found a therapist that you click with and that things are going well with her. As someone who also began therapy this summer for similar reasons, it is so encouraging to know that there are other people doing the same thing. Thank you for sharing the Thought Record. That is definitely a tool I can use. Have a wonderful day and keep glowing girl!


Tara MItchell November 3, 2011 at 9:23 am

Hi Angela,
Good luck on your journey. I have had anxiety for years and I am now just beginning to turn the page back to a normal life. I have had many physical and emotional pains over the years that where completely debilitating but with good tools and a great councellor you can accomplish complete recovery. Do you deal with anxiety centre? These papers look familiar to me. If so they are phenominal people with true love in there hearts. Remember for the most part nothing is ever as dreadful as we imagine it to be. Be a guard to the gate of your mind.



Angela (Oh She Glows) November 3, 2011 at 11:20 am

Thank you Tara!


LizAshlee November 3, 2011 at 9:29 am

I find CBT works very well…we learned about it during grad school as well it is very applicable to occupational therapy because our thoughts affect our daily routine and how we manage! Great post…totally hit home!


Gillian G. @ When Bread Is Broken November 3, 2011 at 9:57 am

Thank you so much for this! I deal with rather severe anxiety and this is so helpful. You are very admirable for being so open about it!!


J.Lynn November 3, 2011 at 10:13 am

Thank you for this post Angela. I have body image issues, but I also have an issue with binge eating in stressful situations. This thought record is similar to something I’ve been trying to use in those times of stress. Anyway, I love your blog :)

Much love,


Lacey November 3, 2011 at 10:17 am

I opened your blog today looking for something – I wasn’t sure what, but I’ve been having an “off” week. You provide such a positive message no matter what the subject matter, which is why I felt drawn to you today. Thank you for shining your Light to the world through this blog. I don’t think you know how many people you influence through your sharing – thank you thank you thank you!


Barbara dePater November 3, 2011 at 11:58 am

I have tried many of your recipes as I am very passionate about healthy eating. I also happen to work for a company that shells flax. I thought as a thank you I would like to provide you with a package of our delicious flax which you don’ t need to grind or keep it in the fridge! It is also 100% Canadian. :)
Best Regards and keep up the good work,


Holly Marie November 3, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Thank you so much for sharing this!


Ashley November 3, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Thanks so much for sharing this. :) I’ve never seen a thought record before.


Jolene ( November 3, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Thanks for sharing this! CBT is my favourite form of therapy, and I hope to use it in the future when I become a registered psychologist. I want to work with people who have OCD and/or eating disorders.


Emily November 3, 2011 at 7:39 pm

Angela thank you for this post. It feels so good to know I’m there are others that are dealing wtih similar things. Meditating on positive affirmations is so helpful for fighting negative self talk. On days that I meditate, I feel so much more positive, self accepting and in control of my thoughts. Thank you for the thought record. I can’t wait to try it!


Caitlin November 3, 2011 at 8:32 pm

This post came at exactly the right time for me. This has been such a stressful week, I’ve lost track of the number of times I panicked and cried about something. Thanks so much for sharing. I will definitely try this in the future.


Fanta November 4, 2011 at 9:32 am

Thank You for this, I’m seeing someone new to assist me with my anxiety and eating disorder also. This can be a useful for a tool for her with other clients also. Thanks! :)


Brenda November 5, 2011 at 8:14 am

Thanks so much for this tool, when we think positive thoughts it so helps us in all aspects of our lives….making healthy choices and feeling good about ourselves and all the people in our lives….you are truly an inspiration.


Kay Jones November 5, 2011 at 11:46 pm

Making false predictions about future events and assumptions about what others are thinking is me to a tee. I will definetely be trying the thought record. Your honesty really helps others not feel so alone in their issues. Thanks!

I have been following your blog for a couple of months now, and with my 30th birthday looming … I think I am ready to make some drastic healthy changes! You are an ispiration!


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 6, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Thank you Kay…goodluck and happy birthday!


Susan November 7, 2011 at 7:41 am

You’re so wise for someone so young. Thank you for this entry, especially!


Nicole November 14, 2011 at 11:27 pm

Angela- I have been following your blog for over a year now, but this is my first comment! Just wanted to thank you for always being so open and sharing the thought record pdf. Such a wonderful tool to have when emotions and feelings get overwhelming. I enjoy your posts so much!


Natalia October 10, 2012 at 10:59 am

It appears I’ve struggled with anxiety all my life for as long as I remember. I have adopted many maladative coping mechanisms and refused to see myself as someone who has mental problems so I never seeked help. I have found this blog extremely useful, even heaven-sent, and am looking forward to using the thought record. I have also been using Jon Kabat-Zinn’s mindful meditation tapes and book “Full Catastrophe Living” that gives you strategies on how to deal with different types of stress as well as many relaxation techniques and yoga exercises. Thanks for the blog, Angela, and hope you have more similar entries.


Amanda February 27, 2014 at 3:22 pm

I love the idea of practicing to retrain your thoughts. Negativity is definitely a habit, and one that can be broken, but breaking habits doesn’t happen easily. I was recently reading an article about habits that says over 50% of our actions are caused by habits ( It also mentions that there are always triggers for habits. I think I’m going to practice this to see what my triggers are for negative thinking and to see what I am thinking that’s not supported by facts!



Stephanie April 24, 2014 at 5:41 pm

I love CBT! I had that same click moment with automatic thought records and I still use them to help re-frame events causing me anxiety. Before I started them I had no idea why I would feel anxious.. it didn’t even seem connected to specific events. It really helped outline where and why I felt anxious and all the negative ‘should’ ‘should not’ type thoughts running through my head. I also like that its a skill to build on so I don’t feel bad if I need to keep practicing at it because it’s a process rather than a quick fix.


JANE September 6, 2014 at 3:12 pm

Since I began CBT, and doing Thought Records, I have found an improvement in my moods. After being in therapy for 9 months I could do thought records in my head. I have been diagnosed with Clinical Depression and Anxiety Disorder and my mood swings fluctuate wildly. When I feel “good” I don’t need thought records, but as daily stressors begin to fill my “bucket” and my emotions heighten, just when I need the records I find them difficult to do without the help of a therapist. In my case it is better to do a TR even for the smallest negative thought, that way I keep on top of things. In my case, meds are important as well. The combination of therapy and CBT and Rx helps keep a relatively stable me.


JANE September 14, 2014 at 9:49 pm

I am so glad to see that I am not the only one who has these issues. I’m constantly being told to stop being so negative and that if I tried harder I would be “Normal” ie no anxiety. As if anyone would wish this upon themselves. Thanks for the CBT idea. I’ve tried the TR and found them to be very effective, but for some reason, when I’m stressed I find them very difficult to do.


Paul Griffin October 5, 2014 at 4:11 pm

Great article. I’ve never used thought record before but I will definitely try it. I am recently having negative thoughts that I want to remove. They are eating myself from inside. I’m sure that this new (for me) method and these moving forward quotes will help me get through this.


Agi Kovacs January 29, 2015 at 7:30 am

Thank you for the “How to Reframe a Negative Thought” worksheet. I’m a psychology student and I think this is very useful tool.


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