Day 1257: Is that a helpful thought?

Is that a helpful title?

Since I try to be a helpful psychotherapist, I help people identify  automatic and unhelpful thoughts, also known as cognitive distortions. If you think it would be helpful to see a list of those unhelpful thoughts, I can help — click this helpful link.

Because unhelpful thoughts — including catastrophizing, personalizing, blaming, mind-reading, shoulds, and labeling — feel like “the truth,” it’s helpful to identify and challenge them. I try to help people do that with cognitive distortion “antidotes” (which I’ve helpfully listed here).

However, no matter what the unhelpful thought, there’s an all-purpose, one-size-fits-all way to help yourself challenge it: the helpful title of today’s helpful post.

So, if you notice yourself feeling worse because of a thought you’ve just had, please help yourself by asking this question:

Is that a helpful thought?

If the answer to that helpful question is “no,” then help yourself by dismissing that thought, however you can.

Here’s a short list of unhelpful thoughts I’ve encountered recently:

  • I don’t know what I’m doing.
  • Other people don’t know what they’re doing.
  • Nobody cares about me.
  • This is going to kill me.
  • I am not worthy of love.
  • People don’t like me.
  • I am clumsy.
  • Life will never get better.

Is that a helpful list?


Is that a helpful photo? Yesterday,in therapy, when somebody had the unhelpful thought  “It’s all my fault,” I helped them replace that unhelpful thought with the more helpful thought of “I tried.”

Are any of these helpful thoughts?







Is it helpful that WordPress just published this post before I was ready?

It’s not all sweetness and understanding.  Sometimes you have to kick ass with some helpful music.

Is it a helpful thought to thank everybody who helped me create today’s post?  Is it a helpful thought to appreciate you for reading it? I think “YES!”

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , | 30 Comments

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30 thoughts on “Day 1257: Is that a helpful thought?

  1. October 28, lmao 😆😆😆👍

  2. Haha Lots of helpful and bitchy comments here … 🙂

  3. Good advice for living a happy life. But isn’t “happiness” also a cognitive distortion? (It feels like the truth)

  4. Oh, Edith Ann, she was always so helpful…as is your blog, Ann. ❤️

  5. Helpful advice from you Ann 😊

  6. I am helpless in the thralls of such helpful music and advice! Neil Young! Young!

  7. It helps to know that blood is harder to clean off the walls than water because sometimes cleaning can be very satisfying. Sometimes we may have to spill the blood in the first place just to have an excuse to clean.

  8. That “Daily Bitch” almanac is sooo funny. I suspect this is a helpful thought.

  9. Another vote for the Daily Bitch almanac (new to me)! And for your list of cognitive distortion antidotes. Overall, your title question is probably the easiest to remember in a pinch! Is that a helpful thought? I think so. 🙂
    Elouise

  10. My most prevalent unhelpful thought is “no one likes me.” Love that Edith Ann clip. Lightened my day.

  11. I love your lists!!! And while the Daily Bitch may not be helpful, she sure is funny.

  12. I love those daily bitch cards!

  13. I liked the Daily Bitch cards too, especially the first, which is a great principle for a therapist

  14. Great post. I really love the list of helpful thoughts. I keep thinking it can’t be me that is screwed up, it has to be you.

  15. Pingback: Day 1591: Helpful | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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