How can you learn a new way to think? It takes intention and practice. In other words, you have to try hard to do this. One key way is to replace your automatic negative thoughts with realistic thoughts. So, learn to “Get REAL” with yourself! Here is an example of how to do this:

Your teacher asks a question. You think you know the answer, so you raise your hand. It turns out your answer is wrong. That makes you feel embarrassed and a little angry. Two follow-up scenarios are possible as you sit in class the following day:

If Jumping-to-Conclusions ANTs are in Control:

You think, “I really hope I don’t get called on. I just know I’ll get the question wrong again.” So you duck your head to make it harder for your teacher to see you. Your hands sweat. You feel awful.

If you Get REAL:

You think, “It did not feel good to get the answer wrong yesterday, but that doesn’t mean I’ll get it wrong today. In fact, there’s a good chance I’ll get it right. I did the homework this time and studied.” So you sit up straight. You pay attention. If you think you know the answer to a question, you raise your hand and answer.

Which response seems healthier? Which one makes you feel better? Yep, the “Get REAL” one! You changed your behavior by studying and got a different and positive outcome. Good for you! See how you are in charge here?

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