1. Identify Distortions – write down the negative thought and identify how it fits under the ten forms of distorted thinking. Once we see that our negative thoughts and beliefs are not realistic, it’s much easier to replace them with thoughts that are more positive and realistic.
2. Substitution – simply ask yourself if you can think of a more positive and realistic thought and substitute that one every time you catch yourself thinking the negative thought.
3. Cost-Benefit Analysis – list the advantages and disadvantages of a negative thought, belief or behaviour – for example, the advantages of getting angry or upset in various situations. Ask yourself “how will it help me and how will it hurt me to think like this”.
4. Evidence Examination – ask yourself - what is the evidence that this thought IS true? What is the evidence that it is not true? Instead of assuming that a negative thought is true, examine the actual evidence for it.
5. Survey Method – do a survey to find out if your thoughts and attitudes are realistic. For example, if you believe that public speaking anxiety is abnormal, ask several friends if they ever felt that way.
6. Experimental Method – often you can actually do an experiment to test the accuracy of your negative thought – ask yourself “how could I check to find out if this thought really IS true?”.
7. Double-Standard Technique - talk to yourself in the same compassionate way you might talk to a dear friend who was upset.
8. Pleasure-Predicting Method – predict how satisfying activities will be, from 0% to 100%. Then keep a check on how satisfying they actually turn out to be. After a few days you will get a good idea of how good your fortune telling talents might be.
9. Why – ask why it would be upsetting if it were true.
10. Shades of Gray Thinking – instead of thinking about your problems in black and white categories, evaluate things in shades of gray.
11. Defining Labels – when you label yourself as “inferior” or a “loser”, ask yourself what you really mean by these labels.
12. Specific Method – stick with reality – those are statements of FACT - and avoid generalized judgments about reality.
13. Semantic Method – substitute language that is less emotionally loaded for “should” statements and labelling.
14. Re-attribution – instead of blaming yourself for a problem, think about ALL the factors that may have contributed to it.
15. Acceptance Paradox – instead of defending yourself against your own self-criticisms, find truth in them and humbly accept them BUT without beating yourself up for them.