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You believe what you think.


SO DO WE. So much so that they started to get in the way of our everyday. So we did something about it. We stood up to them. We talked back. We grew a backbone. Specialists call this Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, but you can call it mental magic. CBT is “a type of psychotherapy in which negative patterns of thought about the self and the world are challenged in order to alter unwanted behavior patterns or treat mood disorders such as depression� (Oxford Dictionary). In short: how we think effects how we feel. So, if we can learn to challenge our negative thoughts and feelings we can improve our mood. FEELY consolidates years of psychological research and CBT methods into a prettier and less complicated format. It was created to help you learn to advocate for yourself, by giving you the knowledge and methodology to do so.

M E N T A L F I L T E R Our own self-critical thoughts only keep low self esteem low. These can be triggered by both intentional or unintentional criticism. Many therapists call this a mental filter, but some people just call them “gloomy specs.� Adapted from getselfhelp.co.uk//esteem

We all have a certain type of filter or lens that

first step is acknowledging you’re wearing

allows our mind to take more notice of certain

them. Usually, low self-esteem occurs in a

thoughts or situations. When things take a

cycle. I.e.: you think: “I’m no good”, so you

turn, it’s common for us to filter out the good

refuse to speak your mind, this confirms your

stuff and focus on the bad, without even re-

own self-belief, rinse and repeat. We end this

alizing it. We just accept what our mind says

cycle first, by identifying the factors that cause

about ourselves, about others, about life and

these thoughts in the first place, then taking

about the future.

actions to disprove them. Here’s how:


Accept compliments

»» Try to please others »» Get defensive when we believe we’re being criticized »» Underachieve or work harder to compensate and cover up our incompetence

Someone is recognizing you for the amazing person you are, so say thanks! Take care of yourself Do something just for you (Take a break, read

»» Act shy and passive around others

a book, get a massage, whatever helps you

»» Avoid situations and people


»» Neglect or abuse ourselves

Ask yourself


Is this fact or opinion?

»» Hurt

Is this criticism real or perceived?

»» Depressed

AKA: is this my own internal critic speaking?

»» Angry

Be compassionate to yourself

»» Frustrated »» Anxious »» Ashamed »» Guilty »» Stressed

Often times we tend to go a lot easier on others than we do ourselves Write out a list of things you’re good at, what you love about yourself and even positive things others have said about you.

Think of this filter like wearing dark tinted

You’re not perfect

sunglasses — when we’re wearing them, ev-

So stop treating yourself like you’re supposed

erything our mind sees is dreary and washed-

to be. How will you ever learn if it’s not okay

out, but in reality everything is a lot brighter.

to make mistakes?

I know what you’re thinking, my depression/ anxiety/fears/feelings aren’t a pair of glasses. I can’t just take them off. You’re right. But the


Rates of anxiety and depression have increased 70% in the past 25 years

(Royal Society for Public Health, 2016)

THE BIG TEN R E F U T I N G N E G AT I V E T H O U G H T S The first step to eliminating negative thoughts is learning to recognize them. By identifying these thoughts while they’re happening you can begin to learn to talk back to them. Developed by psychologist David Burns, these thought processes are called: “cognitive distortions.” When you sense the feels coming on, start by writing down the thoughts in your head, then see which one of the “big ten” you’re caught up in. Identify and rationalize. This makes it easier to think about your problem in a more positive and objective light.

Written content adapted from David Burns’ “Feeling Good”

be able to find work.” Rational: Once again, things are rarely ever 100%. Rather than assuming this thought is true, try to rationalize by thinking of facts and drawing on past experiences where you have been successful and list them out. If you’ve done it before, you can do it again (probably even better this time around). The pain of rejection is generated almost entirely from overgeneralization

M E N TA L F I LT E R Dwelling exclusively on a negative detail in a situation, thus perceiving the whole thing

ALL OR NOTHING THINKING The tendency to look at things one way or the other. Example: “I’m a total failure. I’m a screw up. I’m no good.” Rational: Perfection doesn’t exist. If you constantly try to fit into absolutes, you will become depressed because your perceptions will never conform to reality. Remember that things are rarely ever black and white. Shades of gray exist too. Are you really a complete screw up? Think about your past accomplishments and achievements. A real “total failure” wouldn’t have any! All or nothing thinking forms the basis of perfectionism

O V E R G E N E R A L I Z AT I O N You see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat. Example: “I didn’t get the job I applied for. I’ll never be

as negative. Rational: Examine the evidence. Test the validity of your thought by placing yourself in someone else’s shoes in the situation. Communicate your feelings. Ask your friends or colleagues how they perceived the situation, chances are it’s all in your head.

DISQUALIFYING THE POSITIVE You reject positive experiences by insisting they “don’t count” for some reason or other. This causes you to maintain a belief that contradicts your actual experiences. Rational: Switch roles again! Think about this as if you were consoling a friend in the same situation. What advice would you give them? Would you use the same harsh and condemning language you’re using on yourself? Try altering your negative thoughts into positive, affirming ones. Like this: Negative: I must be liked in order to be

worthwhile. Positive: Just being me makes me worthwhile. Not everyone will like me, but that’s ok. I have a lot of positive qualities I love about myself (list them out). Negative: I can’t help how I feel, and I’m feeling miserable Positive: I can learn to

heard back in a few days. You then think that they probably don’t want to see you anyways. This can lead to feelings of self-loathing (why

control my feelings.

would they want to hang out with me any-


way?) or resentment (well, if he doesn’t want

You jump to negative conclusions and interpretations without looking at the facts. Mind Reading You immediately assume someone is acting negatively toward you, without bothering to investigate the situation. Example: Your friend seems unresponsive and uninterested during conversation. You think: “She must be so bored. I’m uninteresting.” The Fortune Teller Error You anticipate things will turn out badly, and you take this as an established fact. Example: You text your friend to hang out and haven’t

to text me back then screw him.) Rational: By responding to imagined perceptions, you’re giving them attention they don’t deserve. We often respond by drawing back or shutting people out out of fear, fulfilling our own prophecy for a negative interaction in a relationship that has yet to exist. When this happens, take a quick survey. Ask friends or colleagues for their perception on the situation or if they think you’re thoughts and feelings are realistic. This can help validate our realistic thoughts and discount the impractical ones. (Taking your friend’s P.O.V. will help here too!)

M A G N I F I C AT I O N / M I N I M I Z AT I O N Exaggerating the importance of things (your error, someone else’s achievement) or shrinking the value of things (your own desirable qualities, other’s imperfections). Example: You make a mistake. You think: “How horrific. No one will ever forget this. My reputation is ruined.” You are successful. You think: “Well, that’ll never happen again. This has to be some sort of chance.” Rational: Find and replace. Sometimes, simply substituting negative language with more positive verbiage can help us rationalize the situation. Rather than “My reputation is ruined” think: “It would have been better if I didn’t make that mistake, but how would I ever learn if I never made errors? What can you do better next time around?

EMOTIONAL REASONING I feel it, therefore it must be true. Example: I feel hopeless. Therefore, my problems must be impossible to solve. OR I feel guilty. I must have done something bad. OR I’m not in the mood to do anything. Therefore, I might as well just stay in bed.

colleagues’ or teacher’s opinion, rather than relying on your own (often distorted) perception.

S H O U L D S TAT E M E N T S Telling yourself things “should,” “ought” or “must” be a certain way. (These can be directed at yourself or others). Example (yourself): After giving a difficult presentation to your class, you tell yourself “I shouldn’t have made so many mistakes. I should’ve prepared more. I’m going to get

Rational: You are assuming that your nega-

a horrible grade.” This leads to guilt and

tive emotions reflect the way things actually


are. By letting your negative thoughts guide your decisions, you’ll only continue to fool yourself. Look at the facts of the situation. Remember, feelings don’t always tell the truth. Rely on the more concrete elements to

Example (others): You notice someone dozing off during your presentation. You think: he shouldn’t of been so rude and disrespectful. This leads to anger and resentment.

support yourself. For example, if you feel like

Rational: When the reality of your expecta-

you did horribly on your speech, ask your

tions fall short of your “should standards,”

it causes you to feel shame and self-loath-

Rational: Instead of assuming something or

ing. You can overcome this by creating a

someone is inherently bad, think about the

Cost-Benefit Analysis of your feeling. List

factors that contributed to the situation. List

the advantages and disadvantages of that

them out. Did you contribute to ALL of them?

feeling (i.e.: I should always be liked), what

Did he study outside of your sessions? Did

would happen if you were disliked? What are

your student do the practice problems you

the consequences of holding yourself to this

asked him to do? After this analysis, shift

expectation? What are the benefits? Are they

your focus on how to solve the problem (i.e.:

worth it?

try using different teaching methods), rather than using up all of your energy on blaming


yourself and feeling guilty.

You see yourself as the cause of some negative external event that you were not


primarily responsible for. Example: You’ve

Attaching a negative label to yourself based

been tutoring a friend’s little brother in Alge-

on an error or negative situation. Describing

bra. He takes his first test post-tutor session

an event with “highly colored and emotion-

and bombs. You think: “This is all my fault,

ally loaded language.”Example: You totally

I’m a horrible tutor. They should have never

spaced on your team meeting this morning.

asked me for help.”

You think: “I’m an unorganized mess”, instead of “I made a mistake.” Rational: Think in shades of gray. Rather than attaching a catch-all to a situation or feeling, think about your problems on a scale of 1 to 100. Is this a 100% failure or a 25% goof-up? What are the consequences? Your team is upset. What is the solution? You set your alarm 15 minutes earlier from now on. Once again things are nearly ever absolute. Labeling is an extreme form of overgeneralization




1 in 5 U.S. adults have a mental health condition (that’s more than the population of New York and Florida combined)

(Mental Health America, 2017)


Name five things you can see

















Name four things you can feel


Name t wo things you can smell

2 Nam ne eo goo ing d th abo f sel our ut y

1 GROUNDING 54321 is a meditation technique that helps ease anxious feelings by shifting your focus to your surroundings. Next time you feel yourself losing control, try starting the countdown.


Our own beliefs about ourselves influ-

2. Becoming anxious or depressed when

ence our emotions. A common thought

confronted with disapproval 3. Measuring

pattern is to seek approval. When we’re

self-esteem on thoughts and opinions of

feeling vulnerable, we tend to measure

others 4. Evaluating ourselves through

our self-esteem more heavily on other’s

other people’s eyes.

thoughts and opinions of us. When this gets out of hand, we develop an un-

Approval can quickly become a self-

healthy sense of self-worth.

defeating attitude when we’re depressed or anxious, but living in the fear of criti-

Some behaviors of harmfully seeking ap-

cism is no way to live. Of course disap-

proval are: 1. Automatically looking down

proval is unpleasant, but it’s not fatal.

on ourselves when criticized.

Here are some reasons why:

When someone acts negatively towards you, it may be his or her irrational thinking or personal dilemma at the heart of the disapproval. If the criticism is valid, it doesn’t have to destroy you. Pinpoint your error and take steps to correct it. If you are human, then you should and must make mistakes at times, but you can learn from them. Everyone will judge you differently no matter how well you do or how badly you might behave. Disapproval cannot spread like wildfire, and one rejection does not lead to a never-ending series of rejections. Criticism is usually uncomfortable, but the discomfort will pass. Focus your energy elsewhere. Do an activity you enjoy. Disapproval is rarely permanent. It doesn’t mean your relationship with your criticizer will necessarily end. Arguments are a part of life, and in the majority of cases you can come to a common understanding later on.

Try writing statements like those above for yourself. Make sure they are both convincing and helpful. Returning to these can help train your brain to take a healthier look at people’s negative comments and opinions, helping you achieve greater self-reliance and confidence.


Anxiety and Depression Association of America https://www.adaa.org/ “Feeling Good� By David Burns Available at most bookstores National Institute of Mental Health https://www.nimh.nih.gov/ ULifeline (mental health resources for college students) http://www.ulifeline.org/

Everett Fitzpatrick Andrew Fulton SerĂ­n LĂĄzaro Joseph Pack Habib Placencia Adissi Maryam Quatso Hannah Travis Gaby Vakili Kyla Zavala

THANK YOU thank you to those who dedicated their time and talent to the production of this magazine.

REFERENCES Austin Peay State University. (2017). Changing your Thinking: Cognitive Distortions. Retrieved from:http://www.apsu.edu/counseling/powerpoint Burns, David D. (1980). Feeling Good. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers. Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre of British Columbia. (2017). Coping and Self Care.Retrieved from: https://crisiscentre.bc.ca/ coping-and-self-care/#2 Mental Health America (2017). The State of Mental Health in America. Retrieved from: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/issues/state-mental-health-america Notice the Positive: SHARP Specs (2015). Retrieved from: https://www. getselfhelp.co.uk//noticepositives.htm Royal Society for Public Health. (2017). Social media and young people’s mental health and wellbeing. Retrieved from:https://www.rsph. org.uk/our-work/policy/social-media-and-young-people-s-mentalhealth-and-welbeing.html Self Help for Low Self Esteem (2015). Retrieved from: https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk//esteem.htm Stokes, Victoria. Grounding 54321: The Technique That Helped Me Manage My Anxiety. (2015). Retrieved from: http://stellar.ie/skills/grou unding-54321-the-technique-that-helped-me-manage-my-anxiety/11894 STOPP Skill (2015). Retrieved from: https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk// stopp.htm

Produced and designed by Kayla Lake Photography by Serín Lázaro

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