Thought -Feeling Record

There are 10 steps to the thought/feeling record worksheet. The first six steps will help you identify the automatic negative thoughts, the unpleasant feelings and better understand where they came from. The next four steps will help you develop positive energizing thoughts which in turn will produce pleasant feelings.

Write about unpleasant experiences that you would like to have handled differently. You can write about past or current experiences. Start with easy ones first. Get a lot of practice before you deal with more un-comfortable experiences. Print this worksheet and write the answers down - don't try to do this work in your head.

Understand Your ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts)

  1. The situation. Briefly describe the situation that led to your unpleasant feelings. This will help you remember it later if you want to go back and study your notes. “I made a mistake at work." _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________
  2. Initial thought. What thought first popped into your head? This was probably a subconscious or automatic thought that you have had before. “I feel like a failure. If people knew the real me, they wouldn't like me." ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________
  3. Negative thinking and feelings. Identify the negative thinking and unpleasant feelings behind your initial thought. Choose one or more from the list of common types of negative thinking and list all your unpleasant feelings. This is self-labelling and disqualifying the positives. It produces unpleasant feelings: sadness, fear, rejection, anger, jealousy, anxiety, stress, frustration, etc. Automatic Negative Thoughts: ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ Unpleasant Feelings: ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________
  4. Source of negative belief. Is there a deep belief or fear driving this thinking? Can you trace your thinking back to a situation or person? Search your heart. “I can hear the voice of my parent saying that I’m a failure and that I’ll never amount to anything." ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________
  5. Challenge your thinking. Look for evidence (both for and against it) in respect to your automatic negative thought in question #2. Make sure you see the whole picture. Evidence for: “I'm hard on myself. I don't always succeed. It's when I try to be perfect that I feel overwhelmed and disappointed in myself." ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ Evidence against: "I do succeed sometimes. People have complimented me on my work. My friends see me as a good, honest and caring person." ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________
  6. Consider the consequences. What are both the short-term and long-term consequences if you continue to think like this? Look at the physical, psychological, professional, emotional, and spiritual consequences. “I'm damaging my self-esteem. If I continue to think like this, my negativity will affect my relationships and possibly my health. I'll become an exhausted, fearful, angry, sad, distrustful, insecure, doubtful, anxious, lonely, victimized and negative person." ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________

Develop PETs (Positive Energizing Thoughts)

  1. Alternative thinking. Once you've considered the facts, write down a healthier way of thinking. The previous steps of the thought/feeling record helped you understand your thinking and feelings. Now that you have let down your defences, you will be more open to alternative thinking and experience more pleasant feelings. “I don't have to succeed at everything. I might not succeed at this, but that doesn't mean I fail at everything. I want to get rid of this negative thinking. I'm not gaining anything by being hard on myself." ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________
  2. Positive belief and affirmation. Write a statement that reflects your healthier beliefs and list all your pleasant feelings that associate with your statement. Find something that you can repeat to yourself. “I am successful in many ways." Possible feelings: secure, dynamic, confident, brave, thankful, satisfied, optomistic, etc. ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________
  3. Action plan. What action can you take to support your new thinking? “I'm going to celebrate my victories, and focus on the positives. The next time I slip (make a mistake), I won't dwell on the negatives and waste my energy. Instead I'll focus on what I can learn from my slip." ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________
  4. Follow your improvement. Do you feel slightly better or more optimistic? This step reinforces the idea that if you change your thinking, you will change your mood. Gradually over time, your thinking, feelings and life will begin to change. This is self-labelling and qualifying the positives. Your positive thinking continues to produce pleasant feelings: happy, playful, relaxed, loving, confident, secure, optimistic, etc. List pleasant feelings you will experience over time: ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________

Put PETs

(positive energizing thoughts) in your emotional bank account.
The more you invest – the richer you become

There are no restrictions on the printing of this document. The original is provided as a public service by Some of the information on this worksheet has been modified by Brian Stather - www.changehelp

For a more complete guide to cognitive therapy refer to the book "I Want to Change My Life" by Dr. Steven M. Melemis.

Ask your doctor or therapist if cognitive therapy is right for you. These techniques can complement the work you do with your therapist, but they should be used in combination with professional guidance.