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  • Writer's pictureDr. Francis Battisti & Dr. Helen Battisti

The Zone - Volume 83

Last week we discussed how anger is a natural emotion that we all experience. However, it has been reported that more of us are experiencing more anger. It also seems that “over-the -top” aggressive behaviors are becoming a regular occurrence. By restructuring our thinking, we can use the emotion of anger as a motivator for greater understanding and more productive behaviors. This week we will examine a process that we can use to better accomplish beneficial outcomes and be truly responsible for our behaviors.

Cognitive Restructuring is a process that is used in several different theoretical approaches that have been developed and researched to accomplish the task of developing rational thoughts. The goal of Cognitive Restructuring is to replace stress producing thoughts/beliefs with more balanced thoughts that reduce stress.

Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy are two such approaches that we have drawn from when we teach our stress management programs that focus on identifying irrational beliefs and negative thought patterns that may lead to emotional or behavioral issues. The key to our approach of blending these approaches is to assist individuals in identifying ways that his or her thinking can sabotage the desired outcomes and cause greater stress.

We tend to believe that an activating event is what causes the emotional consequence. An example might be, that you are looking for a parking spot, you see one and decide that it is yours and then someone else pulls into the spot ahead of you. You get angry because that was your spot. You saw it first; you have been looking for a free spot longer than the other person. We would suggest that your anger is not caused by the event that someone else got the parking space but by your belief system. “That was my space, I saw it first, s/he was trying to push me out of the space, it was mine for the taking.” A more rational approach might be to think, well I need to find another space to park in, perhaps they needed a space sooner than I did, I am sure there are other spaces to be found. By restructuring our thoughts, we can reduce stress and keep our behaviors in check.

Cognitive Restructuring 3 step process:

  • Identify objectively what you are telling yourself, your thoughts.

  • Identify inconsistencies of perception and reality.

  • Replace irrational, destructive thinking with positive realistic supportive thoughts.

Themes of Irrational Thoughts

  • All-or-Nothing Thinking.

  • Mind Reading.

  • Fortune Telling.

  • Magnification.

  • Perfectionism.

  • Discounting the Positive.

More irrational thoughts

  • I must be competent in everything, or I will never succeed.

  • My emotions are outside of my control.

  • I can never make a mistake, or I’ll be seen as a failure.

  • I must please others to feel good about myself.

  • If someone criticizes me, there must be something wrong with me.

  • I will never measure up to others so I should give up trying.

  • I must never take risks to make sure I don’t fail.

  • If everything is going right, something will go wrong.

  • It’s easier to avoid problems then to deal with them.

  • My past controls my future. Source Inc. 6-24-2016

Cognitive Restructuring is a process which uses thought recording, decatastrophizing, and guided questions.

The following “Thought Log” can clarify how the process works.


Key Takeaways

  • Our behaviors are choices we make based on our thoughts.

  • To restructure one’s thinking, one needs to be adaptable and less rigid.

  • When thoughts become destructive and self-defeating, we can choose to explore ways to redirect and interrupt them.

Best Practices

  • Get enough sleep.

  • Keep your gut healthy.

  • Physical Activity

Things to Limit

  • Screen time.

  • Alcohol and drugs.

  • Avoid tobacco.


Quote of the Week

“Nothing erases unpleasant thoughts more effectively than concentration on pleasant ones.”

~ Hans Selye


As we all continue to face daily challenges around us, Cognitive Restructuring offers each of us the opportunity to be positively productive within ourselves and others. Taking responsibility for one’s actions, takes insight, adaptability and strength.

Be well,

The paraDocs

Check our Welcome Greeting on YouTube

The paraDocs are Dr. Francis L. Battisti, PhD, Psychotherapist, Distinguished Psychology Professor and former Executive V.P and Chief Academic Officer and Dr. Helen E. Battisti PhD, RDN, CDN, Chief Nutrition Officer, at SpNOD, Health Promotion Specialist, Research and Clinical Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and former Assistant Professor.

We have developed "The ZONE", because that is exactly where you want to be during this pandemic. A place of focused attention to doing exactly what needs to be done to get you to where you need to be. The purpose of The Zone is to provide a nationally distributed weekly mental-health and nutrition tip-sheet during times of change.

If you would like to get copies of The ZONE that you may have missed or if you know someone that would like to start receiving The ZONE, please signup today... It's free and you can unsubscribe anytime.

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