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Your Thought Cycle

When we encounter stressful situations, sometimes we may tell ourselves negative things that only increase or maintain our stress. Research shows that our thoughts affect our feelings, which then affect our behavior.

Here’s an example: You are studying for a midterm. You just took a quiz in class and received a poor grade. The following unhealthy cycle occurs:

negative

You can reduce stress by tracking your thoughts and becoming more aware of how they affect your mood and your actions. Increasing awareness is the first step in making a change for the better! You have the power to change your thoughts so that they are more positive and lead to feeling better and making healthy choices.

Here’s an alternative, more positive cycle using the same example:

positive

Click here to see a diagram from UT Austin of the negative & positive cycles.

Complete Your Own Thought Record Worksheet

Click here for a Thought Record you can fill out on your own. This will help you track your own thought patterns and learn how they are affecting 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.