Unhealthy Thinking Styles

There are lots of ways that our mind convinces us of believing things  (usually about ourselves) that aren’t really true. We really believe the way we are thinking is rational and accurate even when all the evidence tells us they are not accurate.  These thoughts just keep us feeling bad about ourselves.  Here are 12 of the most common thinking traps. Do any of them sound familiar? Can you think of some examples?

Believing that something or someone can be only good or bad, right or wrong, rather than anything in-between or ‘shades of grey’

Making evaluations or judgments about events, ourselves, others, or the world, rather than describing what we actually see and have evidence for.

Like fortune-telling, you automatically predict things will turn out badly even though you have no evidence of it.

Using critical words like ‘should’, ‘must’, or ‘ought’ can make us feel guilty, or like we have already failed, and sets up unrealistic expectations.

Insisting that your accomplishments or positive qualities don't count.

Blaming yourself for events or situations that are not (totally) our responsibility or imagining that someone else did something because of you.

When we notice only what the filter allows or wants us to notice, and we dismiss anything that doesn't ‘fit’. More likely dwelling on the negatives and ignoring the positives.

You see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat or believe that what applies to one part of your life will apply to all others.

Assuming we know what others are thinking (usually about us).

You exaggerate the importance of things, or you inappropriately shrink things until the appear tiny.

You believe that you are what you do. Instead of saying you made a mistake, you say I'm an idiot.