Thinking Errors

Almost everyone demonstrates one or more common thinking errors. This doesn’t mean you are psychotic or crazy, or that you can’t change. Once you’re able to recognize thinking errors you can begin to replace them with more helpful, honest and positive beliefs.

The key to controlling the way you think is to easily recognize your irrational thoughts and head them off before they happen. Then begin to develop a more rational, stress-free way of thinking.

Let’s look at the 10 most common thinking errors:

Absolutes Believing there is no other solution to a problem. Using exaggerated words or phrases; using extreme or stereotyped words; using terms such as everyone, always, never, perfect, etc. In short using black and white thinking.

Awfulizing Using extremely disagreeable terms. Thinking you can’t handle bad or negative situations; thinking only bad things will happen; making a situation seem worse than it actually is; ignoring or overlooking the positive side.

Blaming Portraying yourself as a victim, either to sidestep a responsibility or to justify inaction; finding fault with others; holding others accountable but not yourself.

Have to, Need to, Must Labeling a want as a need. Thinking something you choose to do as something you have to do; ignoring available options or alternatives; disregarding your responsibility for the choices you make.

He, She, It Statements Believing that your emotions happen because of the actions of others. Thinking that people or events cause your feelings or actions; failing to take ownership of your reactions to people or events.

I Can’t Negative thinking that justifies giving up. Making excuses for not trying; underestimating your own capabilities; dwelling on why you fail rather than how to succeed.

Loaded Words Using profanity. Using offensive words to express your anger; using strong, negative words to insult or put others down; using suggestive words that trigger a strong emotional response,in order to offend or belittle.

Rhetorical Questions Asking questions without expecting an answer. Asking questions that express a judgement or opinion; hiding negative thoughts inside questions; asking a question that produces an effect instead of seeking a reply.

Should Demanding that the world be a certain way. Imposing rigid rules or expectations; thinking of your desires or preferences as demands or obligations.

Statements of Fact Basing your feelings on broad, generalized statements. Making statements that don’t account for all of the facts; stating opinions as facts; considering a partial truth to be the whole truth.

As you begin to recognize these common errors, they will become like little caution lights, turning on whenever you hear or think them.

This report is not a diagnosis. We hope this information can guide you toward improving your life.

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