Our thoughts are as unique as we are. But sometimes our thoughts are unreasonable....
On average we have over 6000 thoughts every single day – that’s a lot to think about! Sometimes those thoughts are simple like what to have for dinner, or what the date is, but sometimes thoughts can become problematic and cause us a lot of stress.
Below are 10 common “Thinking Distortions” or ways of thinking that are unhelpful – as you read them have a think about which ones ring true for you.
1. All or Nothing Thinking
This type of thinking involves viewing things in absolute terms: black or white, everything or nothing, good or bad, success or failure.
This happens when you make a rule after a single event or a series of coincidences. The words "always" or "never" frequently appear in the sentence. Because you have experience with one event playing out a certain way, you assume that all future events will have the same outcome.
3. Mental Filters
Taking one small event and focusing on it exclusively, filtering out anything else.
4. Discounting the Positive
Ignoring or invalidating good things that have happened to you. Viewing positive events as flukes. Rather than recognising your strengths, you assume that you aren't competent or skilled—you just got lucky.
5. Jumping to Conclusions
Mind reading: When you think someone is going to react in a particular way, or you believe someone is thinking things that they aren't
Fortune telling: When you predict events will unfold in a particular way, often to avoid trying something difficult
Involves magnifying your negative qualities while minimizing your positive ones. When something bad happens, you see this as "proof" of your own failures. But when good things happen, you minimize their importance.
7. Emotional Reasoning
Assumes that because you are experiencing a negative emotion, it must be an accurate reflection of reality. If you experience feelings of guilt, for example, emotional reasoning would lead you to conclude that you are a bad person.
8. “Should” Statements
Always thinking about things that you think you "should" or "must" do. These types of statements can make you feel worried or anxious.
Making a judgment about yourself or someone else as a person, rather than seeing the behaviour as something the person did that doesn't define them as an individual
10. Personalisation and Blame
You entirely blame yourself, or someone else, for a situation that in reality involved many factors that were out of your control.