In the last post, I mentioned "distorted thinking patterns" as way we "react" to life rather than "respond". So I thought it would be good to share a list of common distorted thinking patterns. If you google "distorted thinking patterns" you will get articles that outline a wide range of distorted thinking patterns. They can range from 10-50! If you want to check out all of them, go ahead and google it. I would like to highlight common ones that I see come up with people on a regular basis as I work with them in the office.
1. Taking things personally: When we take things personally, we tend to think that people's intentions are to attack us. The attack we perceive from others is often a reflection of our own view of ourself.
2. Assume: We all know what happens when we assume! Also, more often than not, our assumptions are either wrong or partly wrong. Try to get all the facts before any judgment is made.
3. Catastrophize: We catastrophize when we believe and expect the worst is going to happen with out a plan to cope with it. It can be healthy to plan for how we may deal with something going poorly, but to expect it will happen without a plan is toxic!
4. Blame: Blaming others or circumstances for our emotions or misfortunes will probably only create resentment and bitterness. When we spend our energy on blaming others we miss the opportunity to take responsibility for our life and place ourselves at the mercy of others and life.
5. Black and whit/ All or nothing: This is "my way or the highway" thinking! When we are in this mindset, we can't see alternatives, we can't compromise and it is difficult to understand others or have empathy for others. We don't know what gray looks like. And yes, there is gray! :)
6. Should's, Ought's, and Must's: There is a saying, "Don't should on yourself!" Or on others for that matter. If we use these silently in our own minds, we will probably start to feel resentment toward someone. If we use them when talking to someone, they will probably become defensive. Either way, they cause havoc!
7. Absolutes: These are words like always, never, constantly, etc. These words, like should's, create defensiveness. And they are rarely true. Try using words like often, frequently, sometimes.
These are just some of the most common ones I see used most often by people. There are many others. When you have some time, google "distorted thinking patterns." Identify which ones you tend use the most and start working on challenging them and think differently. The more you are able to limit these in your mind and vocabulary, you will feel better and connect better with others!