Sometimes life can feel overwhelming. We get stuck in patterns of negative thinking, called "thinking traps." Things can start to feel hopeless — but the truth is, there's always hope.

Breaking free from thinking traps is a skill that you can learn. You can replace negative, hopeless thoughts with ones that are more positive, realistic, or helpful. In this activity, you will practice doing just that.

This activity isn't monitored by a human. If you are thinking about death, suicide, or self-harm and need to talk to someone right away, please text MHA to 741741 or call or text 988.

Consent Form

This tool is part of a research study in collaboration with the University of Washington.

Purpose: The purpose of the study is to understand how digital tools can help people recognize thinking traps and practice reframing negative thoughts.

Procedure: You will be asked to describe a thought and a situation you are struggling with. You will then identify potential "thinking traps" (or cognitive distortions) in the thought and reframe it in a way that is more positive, realistic, or helpful. Finally, you will be asked to take an optional demographic survey, which can be skipped as preferred. The tool is expected to take ~5 minutes to complete.

Benefits: By using this tool, you may learn about thinking traps. You will practice identifying them and reframing negative thoughts and situations. However, there is no guarantee that the tool will help you reframe your thoughts.

Data Collection and Sharing: We will not ask you for your name or any identifiable personal information. Usage data will be made unidentifiable to the best of our extent, will be analyzed to improve the tool, and may be shared and used for future research.

Risks: Talking about situations and thoughts you are struggling with may be disturbing to you and may bring up negative emotional reactions. In addition, the tool may use automatic content generation methods. Appropriate steps have been taken to avoid harmful content generation, but there is a possibility that the generated content might be upsetting to you. Also, the optional demographic survey asks for information that may be sensitive and could make you feel uncomfortable (e.g., "What are the main things contributing to your mental health problems right now?"). This tool is not being actively monitored by a human and should not be used as a "cry for help" outlet. Should you have a strong negative reaction to some of the content, you can text MHA to 741741 or call or text 988.

Participation: Participation in this study is completely voluntary. You will not receive any payment for participation. You can refuse participation or stop participating at any time without penalty or loss of benefits to which you are otherwise entitled.

Contact Us: If you have questions or concerns about this research, or if you think you have been harmed from being in the study, please email us (Ashish Sharma at, or Professor Tim Althoff at If you have questions about your rights as a research participant, you can call the University of Washington Human Subjects Division at (206) 543-0098.

Step 1 of 6

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Reframe Your Thinking
Step 5 of 6

Evaluate This Activity
Step 6 of 6

Let's look back at what you came up with:

Negative Thought:



Thinking Trap:


 How strongly do you agree or disagree with the following statements? 

I believe in the reframe I came up with.  

The reframe helped me deal with the thoughts I was struggling with.  

I will remember this reframe the next time I experience this thought.  

By doing this activity, I learned how I can deal with future negative thoughts.  

Optional Survey
Step 6 of 6

Please take a moment to answer the following optional questions. Your answers are totally anonymous—we won't be able to identify you based on this information. Your answers help us provide better information and support for people like you.

Thank You For Doing This Activity!

You've now learned how to identify thinking traps and break free from them. The more you practice this skill, the easier will it be to apply it in your daily life.

We also offer an expanded version of this tool where you can reframe thoughts with the assistance of an artificial intelligence, that can be accessed through this link.

We would love to know your feedback. Did you like using this tool? What can we do to improve?
Let's look back at what you came up with:

Negative Thought:



Thinking Trap:


Or, choose one of these common thoughts to work on: