Practice healthy thinking

Good mental health does not mean that we only ever have happy thoughts. Sad or upsetting things are part of life. Problems are also part of life. Good mental health means looking at the situation for what it really is.

Watch for thinking traps

The way we think about something has a big effect on the way we feel. If we feel like we can handle a problem, we often feel good. If we do not think that we can handle a problem, we often feel bad.

Sometimes, we think that something is bad, even when it is not true. These thoughts are sometimes called “thinking traps.” They are traps because they are easy to fall into and can get us stuck and feeling bad.


Here are some common thinking traps:

  • Thinking that bad things always happen to you. “I wanted to go to the beach, but now it is raining. This always happens to me! Now my day is ruined!”
  • Thinking that something can only be all good or all bad. “I did not do as well as I wanted on that last test. I am not smart enough for this course.”
  • Focusing only on the negative part of a situation. “My team won, but I cannot believe I missed that shot. I must be very bad at soccer. Maybe I should stop playing.”
  • Jumping to conclusions before you know what really happened. “My friend did not call me back. She must not like me very much.”

You can challenge your thinking trap by looking at the facts. The next time you notice yourself falling into a thinking trap, ask yourself questions to find the facts. Here are some questions to ask:

  • Is there any proof to back up this thought?
  • Have I thought about all sides of the situation? Is there anything I missed?
  • Have I been in this position before? What happened then?
  • If my friend was in the same situation, what would I say?

Once you have looked at the facts, you can replace the thinking trap thought with a more balanced thought.

Solve problems

We face problems every day. We can fix some problems easily, but other problems are not as easy to solve. When we do not take action, stress can build up until we do not know what to do next.

This is an easy way to tackle problems. The next time you are facing a problem, follow these steps:

Step 1: Decide what the problem is. Try to be as exact as possible. It is easier to solve a problem when you know what needs to be fixed.

Step 2: Think of different solutions or end goals. Think of as many as you can. Write them all down, even if they seem silly.

Step 3: Pick the solution that you think will work best.

Step 4: Decide what you need to do to try your solution. This is your plan. You can break your plan into smaller steps if you need to.

Step 5: Put your plan into action. Remember to use your balanced thinking skills.

Step 6: Look back to see if your plan worked. If it did not work, pick a different solution from your list in Step 2 and make a new plan. Keep going until you find a solution that works.