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This blog is dedicated to mental health and wellbeing. The main purpose is to show support to people experiencing mental health problems, others that may have someone in their life that does, or simply for those that just want to know more about psychological wellbeing.

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Carrying on from part 1- http://www.shiachat.com/forum/blogs/entry/311-understanding-negative-thought-processes/

I wanted to speak about the impact cognitive distortions (negative thoughts) can have on us.

The impact of Cognitive Distortions


Psychologists recognise that there is a relationship between our thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and the resultant behaviour. Anyone recognise this vicious cycle?




We are constantly trying to interpret the world around us, sometimes without even realising it. Thoughts are electro-impulses in the brain, not statment of facts, so dont believe everything you think! These interpretations will be a byproduct of our upbringing, previous experiences, culture, religion and many more and some types of thoughts can lead to particular emotions.

Therefore, we shouldn't ASSUME everything because you will make an ASS out of U and ME!

The above is typical of the cycle that takes place once we get a negative thought that we may dwell on. It, then, becomes a habit, so trying to change that thought to a more realistic and balanced one would be beneficial.  The question that arises now is how we can achieve that.

Journalising your thought processes
One such way to change our negative thinking style may be documenting your thoughts which is something people find helpful in this regard, as it’s a way of becoming familiar with the negative thought patterns you tend to become fixated on, and is one method of letting out how you feel.

Having a thought diary can be very helpful for many people and can actually be effective for so many conditions, such as feeling socially anxious, OCD, GAD (generalised anxiety disorder), depression and many more mental health problems. You can also add columns where you rate your anxiety/mood from 0%-100%, you would then reframe (change) that negative thought to a more balanced one and rate your anxiety/mood again from 0% -100% to see how much it has decreased.

Thought records like the one below can also be helpful and are less overwhelming if you don’t want to add lots of columns.


Another less intense journaling technique is keeping a gratitude journal. The process is quite simple. Every night, before you go to bed, you write down three to five things for which you are grateful. The trick is that you can’t use the same ideas every day, so you can try to search your soul for what you are grateful for today and then write it down.

If you feel a thought diary is not something that works for you, then think about what might. Using art as a form of art therapy such as colouring, painting or Caligraphy? Audio recording yourself or speaking to yourself in the mirror?

(I know this sounds totally weird but it works for some! No one has to know :p ) Or how about using mind maps? The main thing is finding what works for you as an individual. Hope this helps! :)

Inshallah in the next part I will be focusing on how to set and achieve goals.

 “I only complain of my grief and sorrow to Allah (s.w.t)” [12:86]





In recent times, mental health problems seem to be on the rise and many more people are asking for and wanting help and more so because there is more awareness around these issues.

Our negative thought processes can become or should I say do become a vicious cycle that we go deeper and deeper into unless we don't make the relevant changes. Now we can start by taking small steps by making changes to our lives.

I just want to stress the importance of actually taking action and doing something about it ourselves, although we may ask for help from others, it’s not until we actually consciously make an effort to try and change things, that we will see results. Is that going to see a medical professional? Receiving some sort of psychological intervention like therapy? Or is that just making sure you have a support network around you? Depends on what you feel you need or what is more likely to help you. Nevertheless, you could try all the avenues out there and sometimes we may need more than one intervention to help us get back on our feet.

I also want to mention that giving the advice of “stay positive” isn’t always helpful for people suffering from mental illnesses like depression. Many people know what they need to do but it’s not always easy to implement what we know especially when going though those difficult phases that may be due to a chemical imbalance or social stressors.

Core Beliefs and the Cognitive triad
Core beliefs include the thoughts and assumptions we hold about ourselves, others, and the world around us. They are deep-seated beliefs often formed at an early age which can go unrecognised, yet they constantly affect our lives.


What are some of your core beliefs?
-I am unattractive
-I am useless
-I am hopeless
-Everyone else is happier than me
-The world is an evil place

I am sure there are plenty of positive ones too!! But let’s focus on the ones we may need help with.

Please complete these three sentences in your mind:
-I am…..
-The world is…..
-People are…..

If the answer to all these were negative statements then this may be problematic. Please see example below:




This is known as “The Cognitive triad” and is an irrational and pessimistic view of the three key elements of a person's belief system present in depression/mental health problems. Now maybe you are just having a bad day and that’s fine! We will all have our bad days or go through periods where we feel low so don’t worry….. but, if these are your thinking patterns on a regular basis or if you are going through these phases too often then you may need some help with your psychological wellbeing.

I will be writing more in the next part but did not want to overwhelm you guys, have a blessed day! :) 

"Allah does not burden a soul more than it can bear" [2: 286].


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