One of the biggest benefits about personal development comes from learning techniques that identify faults in our reasoning . Thinking errors are slips in our thinking that everyone makes from time to time.
Thinking errors can lead us to get the wrong end of the stick, to over dramatise a situation, to blow things way out of proportion, or distort the facts. However, if we are aware this happens, we have a chance to correct this line of reasoning.
To err on the side of caution is a definite human behavioural characteristic. By understanding the most common, typical thinking errors we experience as human being, we can identify and respond to them in a proactive fashion.
Thoughts, attitudes and beliefs all play a major role in shaping the framework to our thinking patterns. In addition, they are also have a big effect on the way we interpret the world around us and how we feel. So, if you are feeling really low, chances are you are thinking in a negative way all the time; even though this may not be your intention.
One of the most common errors of thought is catastrophizing, which means taking a small event and imagining it to be far worse than it actually is. Catastrophizing leads to many unfortunate people misinterpreting a simple mistake into a massive event. Alternatively, catastrophizing can involve blowing an unexplained event into to a massive negative event.
We can stop making mountains out of molehills by recognising catastrophic thinking for what it is – just thoughts. When you start thinking in this way, you can stop yourself by putting things into perspective.
If, for example, you get het up at the thought of doing something a little embarrassing, remind yourself that it is just a little embarrassing not the end of the world! Putting things into perspective means to consider less terrifying explanations for things.
What other reasons are there that might explain something other than the worst case scenario? You should weigh up all existing evidence before jumping to hasty conclusions. Try to focus on what you can do to cope with the situation instead of thinking wildly about stuff.
Another common mode of faulty thinking is the all-or-nothing approach some people take to life. If you view the world only in black and white terms you are unable to see any of the grey area, which can lead to extreme emotions and behaviour.
It is not sensible to think you can only ever love or hate something or something is either perfect or a disaster. To correct this type of thinking, we need to start thinking in degrees instead of extremes. You need to realise that you cannot get through life without making mistakes.
All or nothing thinking can destroy goal-orientated thinking, so cut it out! All or nothing thinking can lead us into giving up on something because are standards are set unrealistically high to begin with. Remember that nothing in life is that cut and dry.
Predicting negative events is a common error made by individuals who think too much about things. A lot of people make predictions of bad things happening to them for no rational reason what so ever. The downside to this is that it can lead to people becoming timid and risk averse.
Learning to live experimentally by taking the odd calculated risk is what makes keeps life interesting. A lot of the reasons behind this type of thinking stem from the faulty belief that because something bad happened once it will happen again. Resist the temptation to think in this way by reminding yourself that not all situations are exactly the same.
When it comes to dealing with people, a lot of us suddenly become experts on mind reading. The tendency here is to presume that you know people better than they know themselves. This pattern of thinking tends to mean that people start becoming paranoid about what someone is thinking about them all the time.
You can never know with complete certainty what someone is thinking , so stand back from any negative assumptions you have formed. Think of alternative reasons for what you are seeing; consider that your assumptions may be wrong; get more information about a situation before you act and avoid making a hasty judgment.
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