Unhelpful Thinking Styles

Mental Filter
This involves a tunnel vision typically looking at the negative parts of a situation and forgetting the positive.

Jumping to Conclusions
We jump to conslusions when we assume we know what someone else is thinking (mind reading) and then make predictions about what is going to happen in the future (predictive thinking).

Personalisation
This involves blaming yourself for everything that goes wrong even when you may be only partly responsible or not responsible at all.

Catastrophising
This occurs when we blow things out of proportion and see something as dreadful when in reality the problem is quite small.

Black and White Thinking
This involves seeing one extreme or another and not seeing any in-betweens or shades of grey.

Should and Must
These are statements often based on our core beliefs that we should or must be able to do. They are often unrealistic and put unreasonable pressure on us.

Over-generalization
When we overgeneralize we take limited instances from past history and extrapolate to  future situations. We do not consider the alternative that every day is a new dawn.

Labelling
We label ourselves and othes when we make global statements based on our behaviour in limited situations. We get into the habit of using this label even when it doesn't apply.

Emotional Reasoning
This occurs when we think that the reality of a situation is the same as our mood. Just because we feel bad doesn't mean something bad is going to happen.

Magnification and Minimization
In this thinking style you magnify the positive attributes of other people and minimize your own. Similarly you minimize the negative aspects of other people and magnify your own.

One thought on “Unhelpful Thinking Styles”

  1. Personally I would never have broken things down in this way before, as I have the tendency to pile everything in together (over generalisation!). However, knowing that you are indulging in these unhelpful thinking styles is part of the process. It isn’t always easy to step back from a situation and look at it from the outside. However, I suppose its like a game, whereby you have all the cards in front of you with ‘Mental Filter’, ‘Catastrophising’, ‘Overgeneralising’ etc written on them, then flagging them up when in the middle of a period of rumination. Bundling them together, if that is also part of it, as we may be experiencing different ones at the same time. Then its a matter of breaking it down… to the ‘Hot thought’ and working on that.
    All this seems to complicated, but I guess its because we’re not used to thinking in this way. If we were used to being rational and recognising our thought processes as unhelpful, then we wouldn’t be where we are mentally.

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