For this week, my therapist has assigned me the task of taking notice of my cognitive distortions.
What are cognitive distortions, you ask?
Here is the handy list I’m working from. These are different types of inaccurate thinking. They include things like:
We come to a general conclusion based on a single incident or a single piece of evidence. If something bad happens only once, we expect it to happen over and over again. A person may see a single, unpleasant event as part of a never-ending pattern of defeat.
We hold other people responsible for our pain, or take the other track and blame ourselves for every problem. For example, “Stop making me feel bad about myself!” Nobody can “make” us feel any particular way — only we have control over our own emotions and emotional reactions.
We believe that what we feel must be true automatically. If we feel stupid and boring, then we must be stupid and boring. You assume that your unhealthy emotions reflect he way things really are — “I feel it, therefore it must be true.”
I’ve always enjoyed digging around in my mind, so this exercise has been interesting. I’m already somewhat aware of the extent of negative and inaccurate thinking on my part. I’m eager to work with solutions for creating new habits of thought.
I am already enjoying a benefit to examining my thoughts this week. Normally, my first thought when something happens is, “I’m a terrible person.” This week, since I’m trying so hard to collect examples for my therapist, when something happens I think, “Am I thinking I’m a terrible person?”
Even that little shift in the words that go through my head is a bit of a relief.
Polaraized Thinking, Catastrophizing, Personalization, Shoulds, and Global Labeling are very frequent in my thinking.
How about you? What are your cognitive distortions?
Have you done work to change your thinking habits? How did that go for you?