Thinking errors

thinking errors, automatic thoughts

What are common thinking errors?

Because we are not always aware of our automatic thoughts, let alone the truthfulness of each automatic thought, we list below some of the most common pitfalls in the to think. The Mistakes of Thinking:

Pitfalls in Thinking

1. Black and white thinking

Here someone is thinking in extreme extremes. There is only black or only white. No gray. Something is good or bad, someone is friendly or unfriendly, beautiful or ugly,… There is no in-between. Terms like never, always, terrible, everyone, everywhere, can indicate black-and-white thinking. Examples:

  • “I always sleep badly, I never manage to get a good night’s sleep, the whole world is sleeping except me. I’m worth nothing if I haven’t slept well.”
  • “All men are egoists”

The greatest danger of this all-or-nothing thinking is the impact it has on your self-image. For example, you may consider yourself a failure or worthless if you are not important or perfect. There is no room for mediocrity or mistakes. Example: A teacher thought he was a bad teacher when he couldn’t speak his mind while standing in front of a full class. One less well-prepared lesson was a reason to feel worthless and incapable.

2. ‘Should’ think

Pressure yourself or others with rules, commandments, obligations, threats or other strict demands. These rules are correct and are not in dispute. Anything that deviates from your own values ​​is bad. As a result, you often judge others and find fault with them. An example:

  • “My boyfriend should be someone who regularly surprises me with a bunch of flowers and a dinner in a nice restaurant.”
  • “I have to sleep for eight hours otherwise I won’t be a human the next day.”
  • “I have to make sure I don’t make mistakes.”

3. Emotional reasoning

Base your thinking entirely on how you feel. For example:
  • “I feel tired and therefore something must be wrong physically.”
  • “I feel that I cannot do it and therefore there is no point in doing it try.”

4. Reversal of the positive

Turning neutral or positive experiences into negative experiences. An example of such an automatic thought: “You look so good” after a bad night thinking: “They don’t mean that.”

5. Personalize

Align neutral events that are not related to anyone else. An example:

  • “When I am at a party and some are looking at me, I know there is something wrong with me.”
  • “If I am on the street see a few people speak and they talk about me.”

Another form of personalization is comparing yourself with others:

  • “ He plays tennis so much better than I do.”
  • “I’m the slowest at work.”

6. Labeling

This is where someone is going to make a negative fixed judgment about something, themselves or others. You label yourself or others. An example:

  • “I’m just a failure.”
  • “The weather is always typically Belgian: now it’s raining again.”

7. Magnify and shrink

Usually this involves magnifying the shortcomings of yourself, others or a situation and diminishing the good sides. An example:

  • “I’ve been sitting here on the terrace for 7 minutes and the waiter still hasn’t come. He really can’t do much.”
  • “It’s a coincidence that I slept well last night.”

8. Reading minds

By this we mean that you already know exactly what someone else is thinking in advance. For example, assume in advance that people will look at you negatively:

  • “My boss sees the bags under my eyes and will think that I will not achieve anything today.”

9. Generalize

You are drawing a sweeping, general conclusion based on a single occurrence. You see a negative event as evidence of a repeating pattern of setbacks. An example:

  • A rejection on the dance floor is interpreted as: “Nobody wants to dance with me.”
  • “After a few good nights comes a bad night.”
  • “This insomnia will never go away.”

It also uses certain words that reinforce the generalization: everyone, everyone, nobody , every, none, never, always.

10. Measuring with two standards

By this we mean not judging everyone equally. What applies to you does not apply to others. You impose certain rules on yourself that others do not have to follow. Or vice versa: the rules apply to others, but not to you. Examples:

  • “If I express my emotion it is good for me, if others do it is a sign of weakness.”
  • “If I take the step to to make a first contact is to give up a form of myself, if the other person does that, I consider that a sign of openness.”

11. Looking through a certain lens

The hallmark of this fallacy is that it is a kind of tunnel-watching: looking at only one aspect of a particular event while excluding everything else. You pick out one detail and that detail colors the entire event. Example:

  • A web designer received praise and appreciation from his boss for the quality and professionalism of the built website, but was also asked to finish the next assignment a little faster. The designer was discouraged and went home dejected. He thought his boss didn’t like him. He filtered out the praise and only clung to the criticism.

It only considers the negative aspects of an event while overlooking the positive aspects. Everyone looks through his or her own tunnel. Anxious people are startled at the slightest and panic about something of nothing when in the eyes of the others it is completely safe. Memory can also be very selective. Many still remember the negative events very strongly. The positive experiences are rarely brought back to the surface.

12. Magical thinking

By this we mean connecting things that in the end have nothing in common.

  • “I have to evoke cheerful thoughts this morning,
  • “I can’t walk under the ladder or something bad is going to happen to me.”

13. Thinking about the future

By this we mean connecting things that ultimately have nothing in common.

  • “I have to bring up happy thoughts this morning, otherwise my day is ruined.”
  • “I can’t walk under the ladder or something bad is going to happen to me.”

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