Cognitive Restructuring: The Complete Guide on How to Reframe Your Beliefs

cognitive restructuring


“Cognitive restructuring” is a tool used by psychologists and therapists to help identify beliefs that are maladaptive and destructive to our lives, and then reframe them to new beliefs that are more constructive and healthy.

The basic idea is that our beliefs have a real-world impact on how we think, feel, and act. And when we hold beliefs in our heads that don’t serve our interests or values, those beliefs can spillover into our lives and hurt our ability to be happy or successful.

One thing to understand is that our beliefs are rarely based solely on facts and evidence, but rather our interpretation of the facts and evidence. Every collection of facts is framed in a certain way and looked at through a particular perspective.

When you practice reframing your beliefs, the goal isn’t to delude yourself or ignore reality. Instead, the goal is to look at the same facts through a new perspective and interpret them in a way that can keep us motivated and inspired.

There are always multiple perspectives to any situation or circumstance. By teaching yourself how to change your perspective, you can discover the best way to view a situation so that it brings out your best possible self.

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Just 5 Minutes of Video Games Helps You Recover From Stress and Fatigue

video games


A big part of having a productive day is knowing when to step back and take a break from what you’re doing.

Without taking breaks at work, we can quickly become overwhelmed, stressed, and fatigued – leading to “work burnout” which often just decreases the overall quality of our work and causes us to be more likely to make a mistake.

There are many different ways to take short breaks throughout your day: going out to lunch, taking a walk, calling a friend, or listening to music are some of the most common ways we unwind and destress.

According to a recent study published in Human Factors, playing video games might also be a valuable thing to add to your “relaxation list.”

Researchers had participants work on a difficult computer-based task that would lead to stress and cognitive fatigue. Then they let participants take a short 5 minute rest break to test how well different breaks work.

One group was asked to sit quietly in a room without a phone or computer. Another group did a guided relaxation activity. And a third group was assigned to play a casual video game called “Sushi Cat.”

After the short 5 minute break, the participants went back to working on the difficult computer-based task.

The results showed that those who played the casual video game exhibited greater work engagement, improved mood, and reduced stress after the short break when compared to the other groups.

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The Need for Healthy Dissent: Standing Out and Breaking the Spiral of Silence

dissent


Human beings are very social creatures and we often depend on social approval to feel liked and accepted.

This is generally a good thing as this “desire for approval” is what allows us to create bonds with one another, cultivate trust, and cooperate together to achieve things that we never could on our own.

At the same time, this desire for approval can also create conformity to unhealthy standards or norms.

Blind conformity stops us from thinking for ourselves. One common example of this is having friends that all wear Nike shoes, so we decide to get a pair of Nike shoes for ourselves in order to “fit in.”

We don’t necessarily buy the shoes because we like them and think they are the best, we buy them to be accepted and approved by our peers.

That’s a trivial example, but the same mechanism applies to all other areas of our lives: politics, religion, culture, fashion, hobbies, and other social norms.

Everything we do, say, and think is at least partly influenced by social pressures.

However, sometimes we need to resist these social pressures, especially when we are defending something that we truly believe is right – even if it happens to be very unpopular.

When this happens, it’s important we recognize the need for dissent and be willing to step-out-of-line when appropriate. This can be so important for getting society to continue to evolve and move forward.

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Your Mindset About Your Health Can Make a Big Physical Difference

mindset


Our mind and body are tightly interconnected.

Often times we can’t talk about our “physical health” without also talking about our “mental health,” and vice versa.

One of the biggest pieces of evidence for the mind-body connection is the placebo effect, which is when a patient is given a “sham drug” (such as a sugar pill), but they still experience a physical change in their body, like reduced pain or reduced anxiety.

A new study published in the scientific journal Health Psychology illustrates another fascinating way our mindset intersects with our physical health.

In this study, researchers looked at surveys from over 60,000 U.S. Adults and asked about their physical activity, health, personal background, and other measures. One of the main questions they looked at was…

    “Would you say that you are physically more active, less active, or about as active as other persons your age?”

After collecting the results, the researchers then followed up on this study 21 years later by looking at death records of participants.

What they discovered was that individuals who reported that they were “less active” were 71% more likely to die within that follow-up period than those who reported they were “more active,” even after controlling for physical activity, age, body mass index, chronic illness, and other factors.

To put it more simply, individuals that believed they were “less physically active,” even when they did the same amount of physical activity, reported higher rates of mortality.

This is an interesting example of how our mindset can influence our health.

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Do You Need Someone to Call You Out on Your Bullshit?

bullshit


It’s very easy to get trapped in your own bullshit.

Our minds can often be our own worst enemy. We fill up our heads with lies, excuses, pessimism, negativity, and erroneous thinking. And we use these as weapons to rationalize why our lives suck and can’t be changed.

Many of these limitations are self-imposed. They aren’t actual physical boundaries that keep us from going where we want to, but mental boundaries that stop us from even seeing the path forward.

The most difficult thing about this trap is that it’s very hard to notice when you are feeding yourself bullshit. We are so trustworthy of our “inner voice” that we believe whatever it tells us must be true.

But do we always tell ourselves the truth? If you’re being honest with yourself, the answer is probably “no.”

There are a number of ways we lie to ourselves on a daily basis, whether they are cognitive biases, logical fallacies, or just ingrained thoughts we’ve learned through experience. We rarely have a perfect picture of reality, so by necessity our minds always lie to some degree.

And because it’s so difficult to catch ourselves in our own lies, it helps to have a friend who is comfortable enough to call us out on our own bullshit.

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