The way we think about things is important in determining how we feel. There are moments when our thoughts are negative and obstruct us. Recognizing this is the first step in learning to change them. Some of the more common types of negative thoughts...
Overgeneralization: Arriving at an assumption centered on a single event or a single piece of evidence. If something bad occurs once, you presume it to occur over and over again. These thoughts frequently contain the words “always” and “never”.
E.g. ” I forgot to complete my assignment on time. I never do it right.” “She does not want to accompany me to this important event. I will always be by myself.”
Filtering: Becoming absorbed with negatives and discounting the positives. Disregarding significant information that challenges your negative assessment of the situation.
E.g. “I realize our team leader mentioned that my submission was excellent but he also mentioned that there were some mistakes that had to be amended. He must consider me as really hopeless.”
All or Nothing Thinking: Thinking in black and white, right or wrong, good or bad. A predisposition to interpret people or events at the extreme; there is no middle ground.
E.g. “I made numerous errors. If I am unable to complete it flawlessly I might as well not even attempt it.” ” I might not capable to complete all of this, so I may as well not begin to attempt it.” “What has been done so far is so bad…there is nothing worthy of keeping.”
Personalizing: Taking or being given responsibility for something that is not your fault. Considering another’s actions or statements is a reaction to you, or is in some way connected to you.
E.g. “She in a foul mood. It must have been something I did.” ” Apparently, she does not like me, or she would have acknowledged me with a “hello.”
Catastrophizing: Overrating the likelihood of a disaster. Imagining something horrendous or excruciating to occur.
E.g. “I am going to look foolish; people will make fun of me.” “What if I have not unplugged the curling iron and the house catches on fire.” “If I do not accomplish this task properly, I will get fired.”
Emotional Reasoning: Confusing feelings with facts. Negative things you feel about yourself are believed to be real because they feel real.
E.g. “I feel like a failure, consequently I am a failure.” ” I feel ugly, and for that reason I am ugly.” ” I feel miserable; therefore my situation is essentially hopeless.”
Mind Reading: Creating assumptions regarding other people’s beliefs, feelings and actions without proving the assumption is true.
E.g. “Ed stopped to talk to Mary so he must like her more than me.” ” I knew he thought I was irresponsible during our meeting.”
Fortune Telling Error: Expecting an outcome while assuming your forecast is a proven fact. This undesirable anticipation can become self-fulfilling: predicting what we would did from the foundation of our previous behavior may inhibit the possibility for change.
E.g. “I have always been like this; I will never change.” “It will not work out so there is no reason to even try. This relationship is guaranteed to fail.”
Should Statements: Using the words “should”, “ought”, or “must” can cast off unrealistic expectations of yourself and others. It consists of functioning with inflexibility.
E.g. “I should not get upset.” “People should always be nice to me.”
Magnification/Minimization: A predisposition to embellish the significance of negative information or experiences, while trivializing or decreasing the significance of positive evidence or experiences.
E.g. “He saw me spilled my drink on my blouse. He said we would go out again, but I wager he does not even call.” “Supporting my friend when she lost her dad does not make up for the moment I became upset with her last month.”
The good news is these thoughts can be improved. Improve the Words... Improve the Thoughts.
Words are powerful, yes they are! Do you see these come up in your life?