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Helpful Thinking

At seven months into the COVID-19 pandemic, you might have concerns about safety, helplessness, feeling unable to cope, guilt, and anger. These feelings are understandable given what we’re all going through; but focusing on these negative feelings can make it even harder to cope.

It can help to identify the unhelpful thoughts and then redirect your focus to more helpful thoughts.

The National Center for PTSD compiled the charts below as a guide for practicing using helpful thoughts.

When you’re thinking “I am too scared to do anything because I might get infected,” or “I’m going to infect others,” some alternative helpful thoughts might be “I can gather information, set priorities, adapt my plans, and carry out the most important necessities in ways that are safe.”

Also remind yourself “I am doing the best I can to keep myself and my family safe,” and “I can find ways to express love and be connected in ways that are safe for all of us.”

Use these tables to identify thoughts you might be having now, and helpful thoughts you can try instead. Practice focusing on more helpful thoughts as often as you can.

If you find that you continue to struggle with your mental or emotional health despite making efforts to stay well, help is always available. You can begin by talking to a trusted friend or family member, your doctor, or HR contact at work.  Together, you can find ways to help you feel better.

If you find that you continue to struggle with your mental or emotional health despite making efforts to stay well, help is available. 

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