Explaining Distorted Thinking:
Did you know you FEEL the way you THINK?!
Learn some simple ideas to change your life! (adapted from Burns 1992)
- The way you THINK will result in how you FEEL – negative feelings like depression, anxiety, and anger do not actually result from bad things that happen to you but from the way you think about these events.
- Most BAD feelings come from ILLOGICAL thoughts (distorted thinking).
- You can CHANGE the way you FEEL.
Examples of DISTORTED THINKING
- All or nothing thinking – you look at things in absolute, black-and-white categories.
- Overgeneralization – you view a negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat.
- Mental Filter – you dwell on the negatives and ignore the positives.
- Discounting the positives – you insist that your accomplishments or positive qualities don’t count.
- Jumping to conclusions – you conclude things are bad without any definite evidence
- Mind reading: You assume that people are reacting negatively to you.
- Fortune telling: You predict that things will turn out badly.
- Magnification or minimization – you blow things way out of proportion or you shrink their importance.
- Emotional reasoning – you reason from how you feel: “I feel like an idiot, so I must be one”
- “Should” statements – you criticize yourself or other people with “shoulds” “shouldn’ts” “musts” “oughts” and “have-tos”
- Labelling – instead of saying, “I made a mistake” you tell yourself “I’m a jerk” or “a loser” or “I’m an idiot” etc.
- Blame – you blame yourself for something you weren’t entirely responsible for, or you blame other people and overlook ways that you were part of a problem.