- Mental Health
Do you have errors in your thinking ?
As we go through life we develop a pattern of thinking. At a young age we learn from our parents how to respond to certain stimuli based on their handling of events in their life. In addition we have experiences of our own and this helps us to determine “What things mean”, “How we should feel about them” and “What we do”.
Over time we build up a mental database of thoughts, feelings and responses and we re-use them when appropriate. More specifically the process we follow in our thinking is as follows :
1. Events > 2. Thoughts > 3. Feelings > 4.Behaviour
Our feelings and behaviour have a huge bearing on the quality of our life so it is important that our thinking database has useful, balanced and accurate information. As our thoughts are responsible for our ‘Results’ in life, if we have errors in our thinking the results will be poor and not serve us well. These thinking errors will manifest themselves in symptoms such as anxiety and depression.
In Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) a systematic approach is taken to identify these ‘Thinking errors’ and help the patient readjust their perception of ‘what events mean’ and ‘what responses should be applied’.
So do you have errors in your thinking ?.
Below is a table used by Cognitive Behavioural Therapists to help a patient identify if they have any thinking errors.
What does this mean ?
All or Nothing thinking
Thinking in extremes e.g things are either wonderful or terrible; or I have to be perfect, if not I'm a failure
Drawing a general conclusion on the basis of a single incident e.g. when one thing goes wrong, thinking Nothing ever goes right
Assessing a whole situation on the basis of one detail e.g You missed abit up there.
Discounting the positive
Turning positive or neutral things into negative (like turning lead into gold) e.g He's only saying that to be kind.
Jumping to conclusions
Thinking something about an event without any real reason e.g.
[a] Mind reading
They think Im boring
It will never work
Making more of the negatives and less of the positives e.g. The boss wasn't happy with that piece of work that means he's going to sack me; He said that was a good piece of work, but it's only one piece.
Using feelings as a basis for what you think/believe If I feel it, it must be true
Should, Oughts & Musts
Using statements like I should, maybe to bully yourself into doing things e.g. I should be over this by now; Things shouldnt be this way (Maybe being unable to accept reality)
Making a judgement based on one fact/detail e.g.
Hes a complete idiot
This is terrible
Thinking you are totally responsible for something that you can't really control, such as other people's feelings e.g It's all my fault they didn't enjoy the evening.
Thinking the worst possible thing will happen
Chances are you can identify with some of the thoughts listed above, however, the real question is ‘How frequent are these thoughts’ and ‘How much negative impact are they having on your life’.
If you have experienced any of the above, have coping strategies you would like to share or just like this hub please leave a comment.
Thank you for reading.