How to Retrain Your Brain

For many of us, this year has been very stressful. From preventing the spread of dangerous pathogens to comforting injustices, people around the world have faced and continue to face overwhelming challenges. It’s easy to get weighed down by the weight of the world, to feel helpless, and get stuck in negative thinking patterns, which is why during difficult times, it’s more important than ever to be aware of the thoughts and feelings we are experiencing. 

It’s normal to feel upset and experience anxiety, but regularly engaging in negative self-talk can become problematic. Negative thinking patterns or cognitive distortions, can cause individuals to inaccurately perceive reality and can lead to or worsen negative emotions, anxiety, and depression.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to fight back against negative thinking patterns, and even retrain your brain to think more positively.  Since, negative thoughts can have a deeply profound impact on wellbeing, it’s critical to actively work on interpreting and processing information in a more positive way. Doing so can ultimately help you not only become more aware of your thoughts, but also more empowered.

The visual below from University of St. Augustine for Health Services looks at common thinking patterns and offers ways to understand and change them.

Brian Farrell is a coach, helping clients achieve their personal and professional goals. He's also the creator of the "QA2 Method". For more about Brian, visit