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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I came across an interesting article in this workshop about negative self-talk that might help as a primer for SAer's not familiar with Conginitive Behavorial Therapy. For myself, I find I'm doing a lot of this inner monologue when I'm in public, and I'm currently trying a few ways through "thought-stopping" and "reframing" (which I'll post in a bit).

The source seems to be from "The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook" by Edmund J. Bourne, or a condensed version of chapter 9.

I do find it easier for me to learn this stuff and keep records if I type it out so here it is :)

--------------------------------------

RATIONAL THINKING: SELF-TALK

Much of what a person feels is caused by what they say to themselves. People talk to themselves all day long with little awareness for it. This is because self-talk is automatic and carried out repeatedly. However, people generally have some idea for the type of self-talk they use once exploring the subject of self-talk begins.

When people are not sure why something is the way it is they often start looking outside themselves for the source of unhappiness or other form of emotional distress. They have the impression that what is happening around them is what "makes" them feel the way they do. While there is likely to be some contribution from their environment, it is really their thoughts and interpretation about the situation that causes the associated feelings.

Situation or thinking -> Distorted Negative Self-talk -> Emotional Response

Therefore, what a person thinks about a situation is likely the greatest factor influencing how they feel and respond. The most positive aspect about this is that a person has choices. Choices with effort leads to change in the way they interpret events and think about them.

It is likely that if they do engage in negative self-talk that they have been doing it for a long time. It may have even started when you were very young.

It starts by a person telling themselves negative things about themselves and their life situation. Not suprisingly, these types on internal messages could start when a person is young because they are unhappy, a negative thing may be repeatedly said to them which becomes a part of their identity, they didn't feel like they had control over their life, and/or they have not been taught good coping skills. All of this makes it easier for a person to externalize or blame the way that they feel and their responses to some entity outside of themselves and their control instead of taking responsiblity for their own feelings and actions.

As an adult all this negative self-talk is seen as perfectionionism, chronic worrying, always being a victim, self-critical, low self-esteem, phobias, panic attacks, generalized anxiety, depression, and hopelessness. It is also possible that when people feel so bad emotionally that it affects them physically.

For example: headaches, abdominal distress, intestinal disorders, seems to be sick all the time. If you experience physical symptoms, you should consult your physician.

Distorted Thinking - Negative Self-Talk

Examples:
1. What if I don't pass the employment exam (worrier)
2. I am a weak person (critic)
3. I will never get over this (victim)
4. I will be devastated if I don't get acceptance/approval (perfectionist)

The realization that you are mostly responsible for how you feel is empowering. When you take responsibility for your reactions you begin to take charge and have mastery over life. Once you become aware of the distortions in your thinking you will be able to change negative thoughts to positive ones.

Accomplishing this is one of the most important steps to living a happier, more productive, and emotionally distressing free life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I know "thought stopping", which has a lot of success for me with SA. Reframing is something I'm not familiar with. Here's that section....

REFRAMING

You have learned about how negative self-talk affects how you think, feel, and respond. Now you are going to learn additional strategies for changing how you think and what you do related to how you will interpret situations and how you feel.

Often the way you interpret things is linked to irrational beliefs or negative self-statements. Reframing, or relabeling is a technique you can use to modify or change your view of a problem or a behavior. You will also find it helpful in decreasing defensiveness and to mobilize your resources.

Therefore, reframing provides alternative ways to view a problem behavior or perception. Look for overgeneralizations like never and always. For example:

if labeled
stubborn - independent or persistent
greediness - ambitious
anger - loving concern

When a behavior is labeled negatively ask the following questions:

1. Identify a situation which typically produces uncomfortable or distressing feelings.
2. Try to become aware of what you automatically focus on during the situation
3. What are you feeling and thinking?

To challenenge the long-term negative labeling ask the following question:

1. Is there a larger or different context in which this behavior has a positive value?
2. What else could this behavior mean?
3. How else could this situation be described?

--------------------------------

Steps to Successful Reframing

1. To understand and accept an individual's belief that perceptions about a problem situation can cause emotional distress.

2. To become aware of what is automatically attended to or focused on in problem situations. You can use imagery or role playing to reenact situations to become more aware of what thoughts and feelings are present. When you identify your perceptions and feelings you will be able to be prepared for the next step.

3. Identification of alternative perceptions. Generally this means to attend to other features of the situation that have a positive or neutral connotation. The reframe must fit, be acceptable to the individual, and at least a valid as the perception they are reframing

4. Modifying the perceptions in a problem situation are designed to break the old patterns by creating new and more effective reframes. This requires commitment and practice.

5. Homework using real-life situations and recording it in your journal will reinforce desired change(s). The experience, perception with associated thoughts, feelings, and responses, and the chosen reframe (it may be helpful to list possible alternative reframes.)

---------------------------------
REALISTIC SELF-TALK

1. This too shall pass and my life will be better
2. I am a worthy and good person
3. I am doing the best I can, given my history and level of current awareness
4. Like everyone else, I am a fallible persona and at times will make mistakes and learn from them.
5. What is, is.
6. Look at how much I have accomplished, and I am still progressing
7. There are no failures only different degrees of success
8. Be honest and true to myself
9. It is okay to let myself be distressed for awhile
10. I am not helpless. I can and will take the steps needed to get through this crisis
11. I will remain engaged and involved instead of isolating and withdrawing during this situation
12. This is an opportunity, instead of a threat. I will use this experience to learn something new, to change my direction, or to try a new approach
13. One step at a time
14. I can stay calm when talking to difficult people
15. I know I will be okay no matter what happens
16. He/She is responsible for their reaction to me.
17. This difficult/painful situation will soone be over
18. I can stand anything for a while.
19. In the long run who will remember, or care?
20. Is this really important enough to become upset about?
21. I don't really need to prove myself in this situation
22. Other people's opinions are just their opinions
23. Others are not perfect, and I won't put pressure on myself by expecting them to be
24. I cannot control the behaviors of others, I can only control my own behavior
25. I am not responsible to make other people okay
26. I will respond appropriately, and not be reactive
27. I feel better when I don't make assuptios about the thoughts or behavior of others
28. I will enjoy myself, even if life is hard
29. I will enjoy myself while catching up on all I want to accomplish
30. Don't sweat the small stuff - it's small stuff
31. My past does not control my future
32. I choose to be a happy person
33. I am respectful to others and deserve to be respected in return
34. There is less stress in being optimistic and choosing to be in control
35. I am willing to do whatever is necessary top make tomorrow better
 

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this is very true and helpful. thanks.

can i see the source of this article?

//EDIT: nevermind, i just read the first part. is there an online version of this book?
 

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I've got some of those books with similar info. Very insightful and helpful. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Here is the last section; forgive my lateness on this posting! I have a my own methods to do this, and seems to work excellent for my SA, although practicing always takes a lot of discipline and I slip.

--------------------------------------------------------

THOUGHT STOPPING

It has been well documented that negative and frightening thoughts invariably precede negative and frightening emotions. If these thoughts can be controlled, overall levels of stress and other negative emotions may significantly decrease.

Thought stopping is recommended when the problem is primarily cognitive. It is indicated when specific thoughts or images are repeatedly experienced, painful, or leading to unpleasant emotional states.

Assess which recurrent thoughts are the most painful and intrusive. Make an effective list to understand the role that these thoughts have had on emotional functioning and how you experience your environment in general, based on the following statements.

1. No Intereference. This thought does not interefere with other activities.

2. Interferes a Little. This thought intereferes a little with other activities, or wastes a little of my time.

3. Interferes Moderately. This thought interferes with other activities, or wastes some of my time.

4. Interferes a Great Deal. This thought stops me from doing a lot of things, and wastes a lot of time every day.

--------------------------------------------------------

THOUGHT-STOPPING PRACTICE

1. Close your eyes and imagine a situation where the stressful thought is likely to occur. Include the neutral as well as distressing thought related to this situation.

2. Interrupt the thought

A. set a timer or alarm of some sort to go off in 3 min. Close your eyes and imagine the stressful thought as stated in #1. When the alarm goes off, shout "stop." Let your mind empty of the stressful thoughts, leaving only neutral and nonstressful thoughts. Set a goal of about 30 sec after the stop, with your mind remaining blank. If the stressful thoughts return during that brief period, shout "stop" again.

B. using a tape recorder, record yourself shouting "stop" at the varying intervals of 3 min, 2 min, 3 min, 1 min. Repeat the taped "stop" messages several times at 5-sec intervals. Proceed the same way with you timer or alarm. The tape recoring is beneficial to strengthen and shape your thought control.

C. the next step is to control the thought-stopping cue without an alarm or tape recorder. When you are thinking about the stressful thoughts shout "stop." When you succeed in eliminating the thought(s) on several occassions by interrupting the thought with "stop" said ina normal voice, then stop interrupting the thought by whispering the "stop" cue. When you are able to interrupt the thought with the whispered cue begin to use a subvocal cue of "stop" (moving your tongue as if you were saying it out loud). When you have success at this level then you will be able to stop the thoughts alone or in public without making a sound and not calling attention to yourself.

D. The final step of thought stopping involves thought substitution. In place of the distressing thought, use a positive, affirming, and assertive statement. For example, if you were afraid to go out on a lake in a boat you might say to yourself, "This is beautiful and relaxing out here." Develop several alternative statements to combat the negative one, since the same response may lose its power through repetition.

--------------------------------------------------------

SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS

1. Failure with your first attempt at thought stopping means that you have selected a thought that is very difficult to eliminate. In this situation choose a stressful thought that is either less stressful or intrusive than youyr first choice. Repat the technique.

2. If the subvocalized "stop" is not successful, and saying "stop" out loud embarasses you, then keep a rubberband around your wrist so that no one can see it and when the thought occurs snap it. Or pinch yourself, or press your fingernails into your palms.

3. You should be aware that thought stopping takes time. The thought will return and you will have to eliminate it again. The main idea is to stop the thought when it returns again, and to concentrate on something else. The thoughts will return less and less in most cases and eventually cease.
 

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Appreciate the info, l haven't bought the book so it all helps. You're a generous spirit.
 

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Thanks so much for posting this! I've been really wanting to learn ways to deal with my negative thoughts for some time now. I don't have the book either so it was great to read all those ideas and I especially liked the realistic self-talk list. When you read the list you realize how true it all is. It's a good reminder.

I'm going to give the "thought-stopping" a shot, but I think I'll be pinching myself instead of saying "stop" in public places, or even my room lol.
 

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Thank-you

Darknightt,

I had been using Dr. Richards CBT tapes from Social Anxiety Network, and he talks extensively about stopping negative thoughts (he calls them ANTs: Automatic Negative Thoughts). This is the hardest part of SA for me, but I really like these techniques that you mentioned. I think something physical or auditory (especially my own voice) would send the message just over the edge enough to work.

Have you tried them (the shouting "stop" on tape or snapping a rubber band)?

THanks again!!! :nw
 

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I can hardly ever hear thoughts, even when I feel anxious and listen, theres nothing really there. :stu
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
darknightt said:
I came across an interesting article in this workshop about negative self-talk that might help as a primer for SAer's not familiar with Conginitive Behavorial Therapy. For myself, I find I'm doing a lot of this inner monologue when I'm in public, and I'm currently trying a few ways through "thought-stopping" and "reframing" (which I'll post in a bit).

The source seems to be from "The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook" by Edmund J. Bourne, or a condensed version of chapter 9.

I do find it easier for me to learn this stuff and keep records if I type it out so here it is :)

--------------------------------------

RATIONAL THINKING: SELF-TALK

Much of what a person feels is caused by what they say to themselves. People talk to themselves all day long with little awareness for it. This is because self-talk is automatic and carried out repeatedly. However, people generally have some idea for the type of self-talk they use once exploring the subject of self-talk begins.

When people are not sure why something is the way it is they often start looking outside themselves for the source of unhappiness or other form of emotional distress. They have the impression that what is happening around them is what "makes" them feel the way they do. While there is likely to be some contribution from their environment, it is really their thoughts and interpretation about the situation that causes the associated feelings.

Situation or thinking -> Distorted Negative Self-talk -> Emotional Response

Therefore, what a person thinks about a situation is likely the greatest factor influencing how they feel and respond. The most positive aspect about this is that a person has choices. Choices with effort leads to change in the way they interpret events and think about them.

It is likely that if they do engage in negative self-talk that they have been doing it for a long time. It may have even started when you were very young.

It starts by a person telling themselves negative things about themselves and their life situation. Not suprisingly, these types on internal messages could start when a person is young because they are unhappy, a negative thing may be repeatedly said to them which becomes a part of their identity, they didn't feel like they had control over their life, and/or they have not been taught good coping skills. All of this makes it easier for a person to externalize or blame the way that they feel and their responses to some entity outside of themselves and their control instead of taking responsiblity for their own feelings and actions.

As an adult all this negative self-talk is seen as perfectionionism, chronic worrying, always being a victim, self-critical, low self-esteem, phobias, panic attacks, generalized anxiety, depression, and hopelessness. It is also possible that when people feel so bad emotionally that it affects them physically.

For example: headaches, abdominal distress, intestinal disorders, seems to be sick all the time. If you experience physical symptoms, you should consult your physician.

Distorted Thinking - Negative Self-Talk

Examples:
1. What if I don't pass the employment exam (worrier)
2. I am a weak person (critic)
3. I will never get over this (victim)
4. I will be devastated if I don't get acceptance/approval (perfectionist)

The realization that you are mostly responsible for how you feel is empowering. When you take responsibility for your reactions you begin to take charge and have mastery over life. Once you become aware of the distortions in your thinking you will be able to change negative thoughts to positive ones.

Accomplishing this is one of the most important steps to living a happier, more productive, and emotionally distressing free life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
darknightt said:
Here is the last section; forgive my lateness on this posting! I have a my own methods to do this, and seems to work excellent for my SA, although practicing always takes a lot of discipline and I slip.

--------------------------------------------------------

THOUGHT STOPPING

It has been well documented that negative and frightening thoughts invariably precede negative and frightening emotions. If these thoughts can be controlled, overall levels of stress and other negative emotions may significantly decrease.

Thought stopping is recommended when the problem is primarily cognitive. It is indicated when specific thoughts or images are repeatedly experienced, painful, or leading to unpleasant emotional states.

Assess which recurrent thoughts are the most painful and intrusive. Make an effective list to understand the role that these thoughts have had on emotional functioning and how you experience your environment in general, based on the following statements.

1. No Intereference. This thought does not interefere with other activities.

2. Interferes a Little. This thought intereferes a little with other activities, or wastes a little of my time.

3. Interferes Moderately. This thought interferes with other activities, or wastes some of my time.

4. Interferes a Great Deal. This thought stops me from doing a lot of things, and wastes a lot of time every day.

--------------------------------------------------------

THOUGHT-STOPPING PRACTICE

1. Close your eyes and imagine a situation where the stressful thought is likely to occur. Include the neutral as well as distressing thought related to this situation.

2. Interrupt the thought

A. set a timer or alarm of some sort to go off in 3 min. Close your eyes and imagine the stressful thought as stated in #1. When the alarm goes off, shout "stop." Let your mind empty of the stressful thoughts, leaving only neutral and nonstressful thoughts. Set a goal of about 30 sec after the stop, with your mind remaining blank. If the stressful thoughts return during that brief period, shout "stop" again.

B. using a tape recorder, record yourself shouting "stop" at the varying intervals of 3 min, 2 min, 3 min, 1 min. Repeat the taped "stop" messages several times at 5-sec intervals. Proceed the same way with you timer or alarm. The tape recoring is beneficial to strengthen and shape your thought control.

C. the next step is to control the thought-stopping cue without an alarm or tape recorder. When you are thinking about the stressful thoughts shout "stop." When you succeed in eliminating the thought(s) on several occassions by interrupting the thought with "stop" said ina normal voice, then stop interrupting the thought by whispering the "stop" cue. When you are able to interrupt the thought with the whispered cue begin to use a subvocal cue of "stop" (moving your tongue as if you were saying it out loud). When you have success at this level then you will be able to stop the thoughts alone or in public without making a sound and not calling attention to yourself.

D. The final step of thought stopping involves thought substitution. In place of the distressing thought, use a positive, affirming, and assertive statement. For example, if you were afraid to go out on a lake in a boat you might say to yourself, "This is beautiful and relaxing out here." Develop several alternative statements to combat the negative one, since the same response may lose its power through repetition.

--------------------------------------------------------

SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS

1. Failure with your first attempt at thought stopping means that you have selected a thought that is very difficult to eliminate. In this situation choose a stressful thought that is either less stressful or intrusive than youyr first choice. Repat the technique.

2. If the subvocalized "stop" is not successful, and saying "stop" out loud embarasses you, then keep a rubberband around your wrist so that no one can see it and when the thought occurs snap it. Or pinch yourself, or press your fingernails into your palms.

3. You should be aware that thought stopping takes time. The thought will return and you will have to eliminate it again. The main idea is to stop the thought when it returns again, and to concentrate on something else. The thoughts will return less and less in most cases and eventually cease.
 
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