Thought Record – Anxiety

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With a Thought Record, you can organise your thoughts, feelings and behaviour, helping you discover patterns and dysfunctional behaviour. If you can understand why you think and feel in a certain way and what the consequences of this are, you can start making changes. It is important to clearly distinguish between the event, thoughts, feelings, behaviour and their effects. In NiceDay you can register them as follows:

  • Event: What happened? Describe from an objective perspective.
  • Feeling: Briefly describe how you feel. Feelings can often be physical (anxious, angry, sad, happy).
  • Thoughts: What were your thoughts? What went through your head, what did you say to yourself?
  • Behaviour: What did I do? What didn’t I do? What did others do or didn’t do?
  • Result: What was the result? Describe the consequences of your behaviour.

Below, we give you an example of a completed Thought Record:

 Event Describe the moment in which you had the unpleasant feeling. (Tip: keep it short!)

I was walking alone when I saw someone I knew on her bike. I waved at her, but she just cycled past me.

Feelings How do you feel and how strong was this feeling?

Scared, sad.

Thoughts Describe the immediate thought (s) that preceded this feeling (s)

She’s angry at me. She doesn’t like me anymore. I am worthless.

Behaviour What did you do? How did you react?

I looked down and quickly walked home.

Consequences What consequence did this have?

I cried and didn’t dare to speak to her again, because my insecurities were confirmed.

 

Tip: A tip for learning to distinguish between thoughts and feelings is to recognise that thoughts take place in your head, while feelings tend to be bodily sensations. For example: “During a robbery, I thought I would not survive, and I felt very anxious about this. Therefore, the thought was: I don’t think I’m going to survive. The feeling was: I feel anxious.”

 

Thought record exercise

Think of a recent incident during which you experienced fear. Make sure this situation is specific, for example: “Yesterday, when I went out for breakfast, I got very anxious because of a man who was acting suspiciously.”

 

Sources:

Keijsers, G. P. J., Van Minnen, A., Verbraak, M., Hoogduin, C. A. L. & Emmelkamp, P., (2017). Protocollaire behandelingen voor volwassenen met psychische klachten.

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