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How to Untwist Your Thinking

Practical Steps to rewire your thinking patterns.

Positive Reframing

Divide a piece of paper into two columns. On the left-hand

side, write down any negative thoughts you have. On the

same line using the right-hand side, write down a positive

way of looking at the same situation. How can you rewrite the

thought to be more objective?

Examine the Evidence

Challenge your assumptions, so rather than believing a

negative thought to be true, examine the actual evidence for

it. Interview witnesses create a statement for the prosecutor

and the defence. What is the judge’s verdict?

The Friend

To quieten the critical self, conjure up your best friend. What

would they say about this problem or situation? What are the

qualities and superpowers that you possess that they would

remind you about?

The Experiment

Test the validity of your negative thought. Put your worst-case

scenario to the test. For example, if you have a panic attack

and feel you are having a heart attack, jog on the spot to

prove that your heart is strong and healthy.

Grey Thoughts

Instead of thinking about thoughts in extremes, evaluate

things using a scale of 0-100. When things don’t work out as

well as you had hoped, think about the experience as a partial

success, rather than as a complete failure, and write down

what you have learned and gained from this experience.

The Survey Method

If you begin to catastrophise, ask friends and colleagues

questions to find out if your thoughts and perceptions on a

the situation is valid, if they’ve experienced a similar problem,

and what they did to resolve it.

The Empty Chair

Look at two chairs in the room. Imagine one is your critical

voice. The other is the voice of compassion and reason. Sit

in the chair that represents your critical voice. What are they

saying? Now sit in the other chair and switch roles. Challenge

the critical voice as to why their thought is not true, responding

to them using a kind and loving tone. Continue switching

positions and roles throughout the conversation.

Future Self

Next time you are in a situation that reminds you of a negative

past event, write a letter to yourself from your future ‘ideal’ self.

How can they reassure you that things are different this time?

That this is a new moment and opportunity to be seized?

Love Letter

Imagine you are someone who loves and cares for you. What

would they write to you right now to give you strength and

courage? If this is too difficult, use two different coloured pens.

Write down your current thought in one colour and then a

more compassionate thought in another. Then re-read the

letter focusing only on the kind words.


Instead of assuming that the reason the situation hasn’t

turned out well is all down to you or others, think about all of

the other factors that have contributed to the outcome.

Ask yourself what you can do to make the situation better or

solve the problem, rather than wasting energy on blame.

Pros and Cons

Write down a list of the advantages and disadvantages of a

feeling, negative thought, or behaviour pattern to work out

whether it’s worth holding onto them or not. Do they add value

to your life, or do they hold you back?


Simply adding the word ‘sometimes’ into critical speech, such

as ‘sometimes I should...” or ‘sometimes I must...” helps the

the statement becomes more moderate and gives us more choice

in a situation, rather than being commanding.

© Over The Bloody Moon. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written
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