Today At A Glance

  • Question: Are you taking therapy too far?
  • Deep Dive: How Cognitive Restructuring Can Harm Your Life
  • What I’m Thinking About: What brings you joy? The destination or the journey?

reading time: 3 minutes


Are you taking therapy too far?

A popular type of therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, asks patients to change their thoughts to change their feelings. This modality is known as cognitive restructuring.

While this treatment has value, it can be harmful when applied incorrectly. And it this week’s deep dive, I’ll explain why.

Deep Dive

If you like this week’s deep dive, my full-length video and article go even deeper.

How Cognitive Restructuring Can Harm Your Life

What Is Cognitive Restructuring

Cognitive restructuring is a fancy way of saying, “Change your thoughts.” Here’s why therapists use cognitive restructuring.

Your thoughts affect how you feel. For example, those with a positive mindset tend to be happier than those with a negative mindset. Given this information, cognitive restructuring helps patients feel better by changing how they think.

The treatment aims to ease the effects of negative emotions by changing the thoughts that produce them. For example, using cognitive restructuring, a patient might turn an extreme thought like “I am unlovable” into something more balanced like “I am lovable.” In doing so, they typically feel better.

Two Types Of Thoughts

Rational thoughts are based on fact and logic. The belief that 1 + 1 = 2 is an example of a rational thought.

In contrast, irrational thoughts are not based on fact or logic. Instead, they are based on perception, speculation, and assumption. Believing your co-worker hates you because they took your favorite parking space is an example of an irrational thought.

For the most part, cognitive restructuring was designed to change irrational thoughts. Sadly, many people are advised to use cognitive restructuring to change rational thoughts. As you’ll see, this advice can lead to big problems.

Why Changing Rational Thoughts Is A Bad Idea

Assume that your business is struggling and you’re on the verge of bankruptcy. After a meeting with your accountant, you realize that your best sales rep has been stealing from the company. Naturally, you feel a lot of stress, anger, and anxiety.

If you try to manage your stress, anger, and anxiety by changing how you think, you steer your life off course. That’s because trying to fix this type of problem by changing your thoughts is a form of avoidance. And, when you avoid your problems, they don’t get solved.

For example, no amount of cognitive restructuring will change the fact that your business is nearly bankrupt. And, no amount of convincing yourself that your sales rep is a good person will change the fact that they stole from your company.

Denying the truth is the mental equivalent of burying your head in the sand. And, while pretending your problems don’t exist might make you feel better in the moment, it won’t fix your problems long-term.

When the world gives you real problems, hiding from them won’t help. To solve your problems, you have to face them head-on.

Want More?

Check out my full-length video and article on taking therapy too far.

What I’m Thinking About

Do you enjoy the destination or the journey?

Sometimes, you begin something because you believe the result will bring you happiness. You envision reaching a goal or destination and think that’s where your fulfillment lies. But as you embark on the journey, you may discover that what truly brings you joy is the process itself.

Here’s a personal example.

I love cycling, and I believed racing would fulfill me. But it didn’t.

While training for races, I realized my fulfillment came from daily training rides, progress, and the simple pleasure of being on a bike with friends.

People are often surprised when they discover I don’t race. And because society often emphasizes achieving specific goals, many consider my approach ‘against the norm.’ As a result, I often get pressure from others to race.

A younger me might have given in to that pressure. But in doing so, I would make myself less happy. Thankfully, I’ve learned to let go of others’ expectations and embrace what truly brings me joy.

So here’s my question to you.

Are you doing anything that makes you less happy because society expects you to?

DISCLAIMER: Please be aware that the information presented in this email is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as personalized financial advice. The creator of this email is not a licensed financial advisor and any decisions made based on this information are at your own risk. It’s important to consult with a qualified financial professional before making any financial decisions, as this information does not consider individual investment goals, risk preferences, or financial situations. Please remember that past performance does not guarantee future results, and all investments involve risk, including the potential loss of your initial investment.


Chris Thornham 80/20 Financial Planner
Take Control Of Your Finances

Reduce financial stress, reach financial freedom, and achieve financial goals like buying a home, paying off debt, and investing for retirement.

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