How to Consciously Engage, Inspire, Connect, and Lead: Part 4 (7 Steps)
In How to Consciously Engage, Inspire, Connect, and Lead: Part 3, we addressed the importance of identifying negative feelings and their associated thoughts. Here, we outline 7 simple steps to completing a Thought Record.
7 Step Process for Thought Record
- Identify the Negative Feelings. Examples are: sad, anxious, angry, guilty, lonely, hopeless, and frustrated.
- Rate the negative thought. Assign it a value on a scale from 1-100 (100 being the top end of negativity).
- Record thoughts that cause you the negative feeling. Circle the thought that has the highest rating; this is called your “hot thought.”
- Record evidence for the hot thought. Recall times that you experienced something negative happening.
- Record evidence against the hot thought. Examine evidence from your own experience that refutes the hot thought.
- Combine the truths of the evidence for and evidence against into a balanced thought. A technique is to add the word “and” after stating the evidence for and the evidence against.
- Rate the negative feeling. Hopefully, your rating has decreased, which empowers you.
Example of Thought Record
Outlined here is an example of a situation that causes anxiety and avoidance of public speaking. Rochelle feels anxiety about an upcoming opportunity to give a presentation to 60 professionals. Here is how she completed the thought record.
- Feeling: Anxious
- Rating: 70
- Hot Thought: I’m going to do poorly when I give this presentation and the audience is going to think poorly of me.
- Evidence for: Rochelle recorded the following. I had an experience at a presentation 4 months ago where my partner who I presented with told me they thought I didn’t do a good job at presenting the information; that I was boring, gave too much detail, and lost the audience’s attention. I also noticed the audience members seemed less interested as I went further into detail.
- Evidence Against: Rochelle recorded the following. Every member of the audience wrote positive feedback on the survey. Multiple people verbalized great value from the presentation. Even though there was a section where I didn’t do as well as I would have liked to, I was open to learning from it and taking constructive criticism.
- Balanced Thought: I see where I could have gone into less detail and presented the information in a “short and sweet” format to better engage the audience and I’ll do this for the upcoming presentation. Overall, the audience got a lot of value from what I presented, and this next audience will too. I’m open to learning should any feedback indicate I can improve.
- Rating: 30
Note that the result of completing the thought record was a reduction in anxiety from 70% to 30%. Rochelle felt much better and optimistic about the upcoming presentation. She removed two cognitive distortions, “black and white” thinking and fortune telling, which we’ll discuss later in this series. It’s your turn to complete your own Thought Record. It’s time to shift from negative to balanced thoughts.
To you achieving balanced thoughts,