Cognitive Exercises Most counseling experiences are going to touch on cognitive exercises in some way, shape, orform.In Alcoholics Anonymous, for example, there are a number of catchy little phrases like "TheAttitude is Gratitude" which serve to change the chemistry in my brain and body very rapidly.In fact, Mihalyi Cszikszentmihalyi,Ph.D., the author of the book FLOW says that we respond tochanges in facial expression and tone of voice in 1/18th second, which is about twice as fast as Ican blink my eyes. I have also seen the number of thoughts we have is 60,000 per day, so wealready do a lot of cognitive exercise.So I need to have my cognitive exercise thoughts available for frequent and rapid deploymentover the course of the day in order to achieve my feeling and or behavioral goals.In fact, cognitive exercises might actually involve a workout, because a brain that is regularlyexercised is a brain in which awareness is increased, and the potential for positive cognitiveexercises is increased.Perhaps you have never heard of the concept of brain fitness. For an excellent picture of brainfitness, let me recommendBrainfit for Lifeby Simon Evans,Ph.D., and Paul Burghardt,Ph.D.,who are neuroscientists at the University of Michigan. Their work is written for us non--professional neuroscientists, which makes it a very useful tool in your search for cognitiveexercises.But perhaps you got to this page in search of some information about cognitive behavioraltherapy (CBT) or Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT) which are models of counselingwhich teach us how to become aware of our self-talk and dispute it if it is not serving us.No, you do not have to believe your self-talk, often we develop some patterns or habitual wordsthat pop into our heads in response to a perception, like a look of irritation on my wife's face.I might say to myself, "What did I do now?", and feel fear, or anger.That kind of habitual response is called an automatic negative thought, and needs to be disputed,or questioned in my head before I respond to my wife's expression with a shout or a defensive orargumentative comment, because she may have just stubbed her toe, and her expression hasnothing to do with me.In order to complete that cognitive exercise, I need to be attending to how I am feeling, whatwords are running through my head as I move through the day, and if the words are about anevent that happened years ago, or may happen in the future, I need to bring my focus back to thehere and now, and make the cognitions in my head work for me.