Some questions you can ask to challenge your SATs:

Is there any proof for the thought? Is there anything that would back it up?

Is there any proof against the thought?

Is there another way of seeing things that would fit the facts of the event?

Is there a less extreme way of seeing things?

Using the same event you had written down earlier, use the last column to write down the results of your questioning.

Date/Time Event (where you were, what you were doing) Mood (e.g. sad, anxious, stressed) SATs (what was going through your mind when you felt bad) Another way of seeing things
Mon 2pm Sitting at home – meant to be writing my essay but I keep putting it off and can’t concentrate Sitting at home – meant to be writing my essay but I keep putting it off and can’t concentrate There’s no point of me doing this, I’m never going to be able to get it done. I have the thinking error of catastrophizing. I’ve been able to do it so far, even though every time I didn’t think so.


How did it feel to have another way of seeing things? Do things seem less stressful and difficult? If you even felt a tiny weeny bit better after the exercise, you have done well!

Sometimes, however, you will feel that the so-called fair and realistic new thought is pretty rubbishy and you don’t really believe it. In this case, it is unlikely to make you feel any better. But don’t dismiss it, write it down anyway. Seeing things on paper can sometimes make them seem a bit more real.

Keep practising – at first it will be difficult to come up with another way to see things, or you will come up with them and not believe them. But questioning thoughts is like learning any new skill – the more you do it, the easier it gets, and the more confident you will be of it. Remember that you have been thinking in a stressful way for quite a long time, and it takes time to make changes. Don’t give up!

Print out the table and give it a shot for the next few weeks!