About This Tool

Every day, we do many things to take good care of ourselves and to benefit others without noticing them. As humans, our attention is biased towards things that are not going well, and this bias often becomes stronger after stress or trauma. In order to shift our focus away from our flaws, we need to consciously practice spotting our successes. This worksheet helps you do just that.

Why It Works

This exercise is a form of cognitive reappraisal. Cognitive reappraisal can reduce both emotional and physical feelings of anxiety, and can decrease activity in the brain’s fear circuit (Hoffman et al., 2009; Llewellyn, Dolcos, Iordan, Rudolph, & Dolcos, 2013; Yoshimura et al., 2014). Trying out cognitive reappraisals for situations that provoke anxiety activates brain regions involved in regulating anxiety (Roffman, Marci, Glick, Dougherty, Rauch, 2005). After practicing reappraisal, people often report feeling less anxious, a shift that reflects how the brain “recruits” additional brain regions to help regulate anxiety (Thomaes et al., 2014; Yoshimura et al., 2014). Reappraisal may also reduce depression after stressful experiences (Troy, Wilhelm, Shallcross, & Mauss, 2010).

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