#0012 — The Cognitive Model

A thought process for healthier thinking.


I usually write about a different mental health exercise each week. This week I want to write about the idea that connects the exercises together: The Cognitive Model.


🛑 Problem:

Challenges like anxiety and depression can distort our perceptions of the world.

These distorted thoughts can lead to unhealthy feelings and behaviors.


✅ Solution:

This connection between our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors is known as The Cognitive Model.

Once we understand it, then we can start challenging the distorted thoughts and reduce unhealthy behaviors.


🧠 The Cognitive Model:

The Cognitive Model describes how people’s thoughts and perceptions influence their lives. Distress can distort people’s perceptions, and that can lead to unhealthy emotions and behaviors. — The Beck Institute

Imagine that somebody made a mean comment to you. If you take their comment personally, then you might get upset. But if you believe that their comment says more about them than it does about you, you may not get as upset.

This difference in perception and outcome is what the Cognitive Model highlights.



📝 Example:

Here’s a more detailed example.

💡 Why it matters:

Once we see the connection between distorted thoughts and our behaviors, then we can form healthier habits using an exercise like the triple column technique.


✍️ Try now:

When was the last time you were worried about something? Can you identify the connection between your thoughts and the behaviors that followed the stressful event?

Print the worksheet above or download a CBT app to try it now. Writing out the exercise is more effective than trying to do it in your head.


🌇 Conclusion:

Understanding the connection between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors is a powerful first step towards healthier thinking, and therefore, healthier behaviors.

When you’re ready to begin challenging distorted thoughts, then I recommend starting with the Triple Column Technique exercise.


📖 Read more:

The Beck Institute: A thought process for developing healthier thinking: https://beckinstitute.org/cognitive-model/

Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_behavioral_therapy

Excellent video explanation of the Cognitive Model: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0LZyDffbWc


📱 Practice more:

Download Bold CBT. It’s an iOS app that I made which makes it easier to do mental health exercises like this one.


🙏 Thank you

I’m grateful that you read this far! Please send me an email to tell me what you think. Your feedback makes the newsletter better for everyone.

  • john@boldCBT.com

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