Four cognitive-restructuring skills

The Four Fundamentals 

1.  Control: 

The truth is, you control very little in this world. You can’t change the past or the future and you can’t control other people. What you can actually control is how you think, what you do and what you feel in the present moment. Coming to accept and believe this fundamental truth - that you are fully responsible for your experiences and emotions - frees you to now take control of your life and begin creating the experiences you would like and have longed for, as well as unshackle yourself from the past and from others.


2.  Shoulds:

We create laws in our lives that we apply to ourselves and others as if they are governmental or spiritual statutes worthy of punishment. In doing so, we limit our possible experiences to failure, frustration, anger, guilt and shame. The truth is, there are very few things in this world that are actually “needed.” When we choose to view our world through a lens of preferences (wants), we create the opportunity to feel success, joy, happiness and freedom. 


3.  What if:

We worry a tremendous amount about the future and what others think or might do. This is called Fortune Telling and Mind Reading. The truth is, we cannot predict the future or read other people’s minds. When we engage in this distorted thinking, we create stress, anxiety, fear and anger for ourselves. We feel a false sense of control and begin to act in fear on what we “imagine,” not reality. The truth is, we are intelligent creatures with the mental ability to identify possible concerns that might arise. By shifting our perspective away from worry to planning, we increase our ability to control our lives and be prepared for problems. Now, if we make one additional cognitive shift and use our capacity to dream (identify positive futures or interactions), we truly begin to take control of the direction our life is going and start building positive relationships and better futures.


4.  Negative vs Positive Thinking:

When we think negatively, we create negative images in our mind - and in the present moment, have a negative experience. We miss out on so many enjoyable, wonderful experiences because of this bias in our thinking. There are two sides to every coin. You choose which side you will focus on. Create negative experiences or create positive experiences? Focus on the problem or focus on the solution?