How to Respond to Unhelpful Thoughts

Verywell / Julie Bang

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Every Friday on The Verywell Mind Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Amy Morin, LCSW, shares the “Friday Fix”—a short episode featuring a quick, actionable tip or exercise to help you manage a specific mental health issue or concern.

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Friday Fix: Episode 156

Your brain tries to be helpful. It tells you about the dangers you should be looking out for so that you don’t get hurt. It also likes to remind you of past mistakes in an attempt to prevent you from repeating them. 

Of course, though, your brain doesn’t always get it right. It may repeatedly warn you that you shouldn’t apply for a job because you can’t handle the rejection. Or it may dredge up past memories that cause you to stay stuck in a dark place.

There may be times when your brain overestimates you in an unhelpful manner as well. It might convince you that you don’t need to prepare for an interview because you are going to nail it. Or, it may give you a pep talk to talk you into taking a risk that ultimately ends up being a mistake.

Everyone has unhelpful thoughts sometimes. And those are just a few examples. Your brain might fill your head with self-doubt or it might even call you names sometimes.

Fortunately, you don’t have to believe everything you think. And while you can’t control all the automatic thoughts that pop up into your mind, you can choose how you respond to those thoughts.

On today’s episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast, I talk about how to respond to those unhelpful stories your brain tells you. I’ll give you some effective strategies for responding to irrational thoughts and explain why our brains often get things wrong.

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Editor’s Note: Please be mindful that this transcript does not go through our standard editorial process and may contain inaccuracies and grammatical errors. Thank you. 

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By Amy Morin, LCSW
Amy Morin, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and international bestselling author. Her books, including "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," have been translated into more than 40 languages. Her TEDx talk,  "The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong," is one of the most viewed talks of all time.