Label the Bad Stuff

Label Bad Thoughts and Feelings

Our minds often feel and think negatively. This happens to everyone. Given that this is completely normal, there is no reason to blame or pass judgement on yourself for this.

If bad thoughts and feelings can be labeled, they often seem less personal. Labeling allows you to separate your mind from the thoughts and feelings passing through. Give those a label and move on.

Some Examples of Labels:

  • Angry
  • Defensive
  • Frustrated
  • Insecure
  • Overwhelmed
  • Blaming
  • Catastrophizing
  • Generalizing
  • Self-Criticism
  • Black and White Thinking

Example:  At work, you might feel bad when a colleague comes into your office. Ask yourself, what is that feeling? You might label it as frustrated that you were interrupted. That's Ok. Maybe now you are criticizing yourself just for feeling frustrated. Label that thought as self-criticism, and move on.

We don't need to latch on to any of these thoughts and feelings, or to suppose that these make us in some way bad.


  1. Pick a day to try labeling
  2. Identify times you are feeling negatively
  3. Label the feeling and accept it. If you can't label it, you can just label it as feeling "bad"
  4. Are there negative thoughts?
  5. Label or describe them and don’t dwell on them
  6. Notice how labeled feelings and thoughts pass.

Sharing this with someone you trust can really help

Reflect on the activity - was this helpful to separate yourself from bad thoughts and feelings? If this is helpful for you, this activity can be converted into another tool to use whenever needed.