In cognitive therapy, we use many research-tested approaches to work on stress and anxiety reduction, mood improvement, and other issues. I've converted a few of these approaches into worksheets, which you're welcome to print out and use.
These are, of course, only starting points. In therapy, we can go far deeper into these processes. But you might find some of these worksheets to be helpful catalysts for developing new thoughts, emotions, and actions. You're welcome to email me if anything is unclear.
(Note: The following worksheets are in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. If you need to download a copy of the free Adobe Reader, you can click here.)
Changing Thoughts and Actions
In cognitive therapy, we find that emotions often follow thoughts and actions — and that a shift in thought and action will inspire new feelings. In this exercise, you choose a troubling situation and write out your feelings and thoughts about the event. You then choose realistic, self-supportive new thoughts and identify actions that can support the new thoughts.
Using Strengths in New and Unique Ways
The new field of "positive psychology" is focused on strengthening what works, rather than focusing on what doesn't work. Positive psychology researchers have found that when we identify inner strenghts and use them in new, unique ways, we will often experience improvements in mood. The following worksheet is based on this approach.
Shining a Spotlight on Worries and Fears
In this exercise — which I often use when working with anxiety — you have an opportunity to "unmask" some of the specific thoughts, beliefs, and expectations that give rise to a sense of worry. Once you have clarified some of the specifics, you can use an approach like the one above to begin to make changes.
Developing New Responses
When a client feels "trapped" in a life pattern, I often use this type of approach to clarify old responses to triggering situations — and to shape a possible new response. This type of process can be particularly helpful when there is a repeated "triggering" situation(s) in a person's life.
The Three-Minute Rest
For those of us who live busy, stressful lives, it can be extremely important to set aside brief times during the day to allow our minds to unwind and rest. The following worksheet outlines a simple three-minute rest exercise that is based on common relaxation/meditation practices.
More worksheets coming soon...