Cognitive Restructuring for Stress Relief

Stress management involves different ways on how to handle stress. One of them is the use of cognitive restructuring for relieving stress. Cognitive restructuring has actually been developed as a form of therapy used for treating conditions such as severe stress, anxiety disorders as well as depression.

What is cognitive restructuring?

Cognitive restructuring as a form of therapy was developed in the belief that situations and circumstances that seem to bring or cause stress is borne out of a person’s way of thinking. This can be explained better at how different people may look at spending some of their vacant time.

Some people may see it as an opportunity to feel relaxed and get lost in the moment. Others may think of it as time wasted with nothing productive to do and may even feel distressed or get bored. A person’s way of thinking can determine the resultant action or behavior to a given situation.

The theory behind cognitive restructuring states that a person’s own unrealistic beliefs can be directly responsible for bringing out certain dysfunctional emotions and feelings that further lead to behavior and attitudes resulting from it such as depression, stress or anxiety.

By trying to get rid of such emotions and feelings, stress and other similar conditions can be prevented. But in order to get rid of them, there would be a need to restructure or change certain unrealistic beliefs or faulty thinking that may be giving them life.

Faulty thinking

In cognitive restructuring, faulty thinking or beliefs is referred to as cognitive distortions. Cognitive restructuring is the process of identifying, challenging and then changing the cognitive distortions and negative and unrealistic thinking patterns with more accurate and beneficial ones.

When it comes to stress management, cognitive restructuring can help change certain unrealistic beliefs and thought patterns that usually lead to negative behavior as well as stress. Self-talk usually have a big impact as to how this way of thinking is gradually ingrained into a person’s subconscious mind.


Self-talk can either make life better or worse for a person. It is the internal dialogue that a person makes that initially tries to interpret, explain and judge every situation encountered. The way a person process the internal dialogue based on certain beliefs can lead to different resulting behavior or actions.

If the internal dialogue is based on cognitive distortions are faulty thinking, then it would most likely lead to negative behavior and thought patterns, many of which lead further to stress, anxiety and depression up to a certain period.

The "I Must Be Loved" thinking

The "I Must Be Loved" way of thinking can be considered as one of those cognitive distortions and unrealistic views that can lead to negative results in terms of behavior and attitude. It is unrealistic in a way that it is impossible for all people to experience being loved by everybody.

If a person is led to believe as such, this can result to failure, false hopes and unfulfillment. Cognitive restructuring works to try and recognize and change these faulty beliefs and way of thinking into something positive and reachable. As people undergo a restructured thinking and beliefs, they begin to see things differently little by little.