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Thought Records

Click here to download a Thought Record Worksheet (PDF 1.13MB) you can fill out on your own. This will help you track your own thought patterns and learn how they are affecting you. Print out as many pages as you need to record your thoughts during stressful situations over a one week period.

Instructions:

  1. Fill out an entry while you are in a stressful situation, or right after.
  2. Note the date and time, and the situation you are in - be specific.
    Situation: Studying for midterm, in my room, alone.
  3. Notice your thoughts in that moment. Try to be as raw and unfiltered as possible - don’t censor yourself or judge.
    Thought: I’m so stupid. I’m going to fail at everything. I’ll never graduate.
  4. Notice your feelings in that moment. Be honest with yourself about what you are feeling. You may feel lots of different emotions.
    Feeling: Sad. Frustrated. Ashamed. Tired.
  5. Notice your behavior. Notice all of it - even the things you don’t like or regret.
    Behavior: Stopped studying. Hung out with friends.  Drank alcohol. Didn’t sleep much.
  6. Notice where you feel the stress in your body. Be aware of sensations you feel as you notice thoughts, feelings, etc.
    Body: Tight chest. Shallow breathing. Headache near temples.
Look for patterns in your Thought Record, such as:

Once you know what your thought patterns are, try inserting a positive thought instead of a negative one. See how that changes what you write down in your Thought Record. Experiment with different behaviors and notice what it does to your stress. Use a relaxation technique and see if it changes your thoughts, feelings, or behaviors.

If you have questions or concerns, we encourage you to visit CAPS to discuss your Thought Record and look at it more closely. We can help you:

This program was designed in 2013 by Santa Clara University Counseling & Psychological Services. To use any material from this site, you must seek permission from the Cowell Center Director.