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  • Writer's pictureSheena Sullivan

You Have a Tape Playing in Your Head. Here's how to change negative thought patterns.


We all have mental tapes that play over and over in our heads on a loop.


These mental tapes are our habitual ways of thinking.


The messages we hear were put there by a variety of sources--our parents, our friends, society, and so on--and a lot of the tapes were established when we were young.


The thing is, a lot of the tapes are outdated. They aren’t helping us anymore.


So, now that we are becoming aware of all this, we change the tapes.


The Thought Questioning exercise will help you start to change the messages on your tape.


The exercise I’m giving to you is an adaptation of the “Triple Column” technique from Dr. David Burns’s 1980 book Feeling Good.


Here’s how to do it:


Either print the document or look at it while you do the work with paper and pen.

I strongly encourage you to do this exercise in writing.

Step 1: Think of a repetitive, negative thought that you have about yourself or something you’ve done recently.
If nothing specific is coming to mind, think about the last time you felt crappy and why. Write the thought or belief down in the first column.
Step 2: Question that thought or belief.
Is it really always true? How do I know it’s true? Could I be jumping to conclusions?
Write some of the questions and responses in the second column.
Step 3: Write a better, more rational response to the original thought or belief.

Here's an example:


Now, when you see that old, repetitive thought pop up, intentionally replace it with your new rational thought. Say the new thought to yourself in your head and move on.

With practice and repetition, your new intentional thoughts will become your dominant thoughts, replacing old patterns of thinking.


Interested in 1-on-1 personalized coaching to start replacing the negative thought patterns that are holding you back? Schedule a free consultation today.

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