Distorted types of thinking
How we think and what we think determines so much of what we do, and what we experience. Thinking is nothing else then making meaning out of life experiences, and creating connections between unrelated things, activities that are shaping our experience. Learning to think clearly, and to understand what we make up in our heads from what is really going on “out there in the world” it is the most important skill to be mastered.
Distorted thinking when practiced defines the quality of our perception and influences how we respond to life experiences. It is like seeing life through a pair of crooked eyeglasses. They create our biased view of the world and ourselves.
Catastrophizing – Predicting that things will go wrong. “ If I make a mistake, I will lose my job.”
Overgeneralizing – If we had a negative experience in the past, we’ll assume that it will always happen. “I am such a fool. I always blow it at the last minute.”
Exaggerating – giving more importance to negative experiences, events than they really deserve. “I will never get over it.”
Discounting the positive – rejecting good things as if they don’t count. “ I could have never done that on my own.”
Mind-reading – believing that you know what others are thinking. “He doesn’t like me.”
Future-telling – “ Everything is set up to go wrong”. “ I will never be able to do that on my own.”
Black & White thinking – changing your mind from one extreme to another. “ One mistake ruined all thing.” “If you can say that, then our relationship means nothing.”
Taking things personally – “ You are criticizing me.” “ they did not ask me, because they don’t like me.”
Taking the blame – taking responsibility when it is not yours. “It is all my fault.” “Sorry.” “ they will be happier if I’d been a better mother.”
Emotional reasoning – mistaking feelings for facts. “ I know something is going to go wrong.” “ I don’t care what you say I just feel the way I do.”
Name calling – “I am an idiot.” “I am bad.”
Scaremongering – “What if she gets very ill.” ‘“ What if the car brakes.” “ I will fail…”
Wishful thinking – supposing that things would be better if you were different. “ If I were younger, I could’ve coped with this problem.”
Being right – continuously proving that your opinion and actions are right.
Magnifying and minimizing thinking style – reality distortion. People see their problems as bigger than life, focusing on the negative aspects and ignoring the positive aspect of their life.
“Abracadabra” which means “ What I speak is what I create.”
Words count as they influence our way of thinking. Repeating constantly the same phrases, expressions and words can keep us stuck in a distorted thinking pattern. Check your vocabulary, and write down how many times a day you say, for example, the word “never.”
When speaking watch for next keywords: Should, Must, Have to, Ought.
“I should have done better.”
“I must not make a mistake.”
“I have to keep this relationship going.”
“I ought never to lose my temper.”
The extreme keywords are: Always, Never, Nobody.
“I always have to clean up after you.”
“I’ll never get what I want.”
“Nobody ever notices how much I do for them.”
Many popular idioms and expressions have words and phrases that express crooked thinking.
Ask the question if there is another way you can see things?
Is this thought accurate?
What are the facts?
Is this thought of any help to me?
Am I pressuring myself?
How can I get help?
Do I have a trusted friend who I can check out these thoughts with?
Identify your style of thinking, after identifying the biased “favorite” style. Then search for alternative points of view and ways of thinking that will make you feel different. You are not looking for the perfect answer, but for another option that will make you feel different. Every thinking error, faulty interpretation, an inappropriate reaction can put your health at risk.
“What is most thought-provoking in these thought-provoking times, is that we are still not thinking.”
HealthYoga Therapist, Teacher, and Student,