At times, do you notice that your thinking patterns can be very negative and worrying even when you are safe and healthy. These are the 10 formidable, twisted thinking patterns visiting us, also known as cognitive distortions. These are patterns of thinking that are irrational, biased, or negative. These patterns are automatic and often unconscious, and they can lead to negative emotions and behaviours. By becoming aware of these patterns, we can learn to recognise and challenge them, which can help us to develop more accurate and balanced ways of thinking.
There are many reasons why humans can exhibit twisted thinking patterns, including but not limited to:
- Cognitive biases
- Past experiences and trauma
- Societal and cultural conditioning
- Lack of emotional intelligence
- Fear and anxiety
- Negative self-talk and limiting beliefs
- Personal insecurities and low self-esteem
- Need for control and perfectionism
- Mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety disorders.
- Substance abuse or addiction.
You Need To Know Your 10 Twisted Thinking Patterns
1. All or Nothing Thinking
This thinking pattern is characterised by thinking in extreme terms, such as “I either have to do it perfectly or not do it at all.” This is the tendency to see things in black and white, without any gray areas.
# You may believe that if you are not able to complete a task perfectly, then you might as well not even start.
# You might think that you either have to be perfect or a failure, or that one mistake means you are a terrible person.
This thinking pattern involves taking one negative experience and applying it to all situations. This is the tendency to draw sweeping conclusions from one or two experiences.
# You may think that just because you failed an exam, you are not capable of learning.
# If you fail a test, you might conclude that you are bad at all academic subjects.
3. Jumping To Conclusions
This thinking pattern involves making assumptions without having all the facts. · Jumping to conclusions: This is the tendency to make assumptions without all the facts.
# You may assume that your friend is upset with you because they didn’t return your text message, without considering the possibility that your friend might be busy.
# Assuming that someone is rude because they didn’t smile at you, without considering that they might be having a bad day.
This thinking pattern involves imagining the worst possible outcome in a situation. This is the tendency to imagine the worst possible outcome of a situation.
# You may think that you will lose your job, become homeless and be completely alone if you make a mistake at work.
# Believing that getting a poor grade on a test will lead to failing the course, getting kicked out of school, and never being able to get a job.
5. Emotional Reasoning
This thinking pattern involves making decisions based on feelings rather than facts. This is the tendency to believe that your feelings are an accurate reflection of reality.
# You may think that you are a failure because you feel like a failure, even though you have achieved many things in your life.
# If you feel anxious about public speaking, you might believe that you are not capable of giving a good presentation.
This is the tendency to assume that other people’s actions are a reaction to you.
# If a friend cancels plans, you might assume that they did it because they don’t like you.
# Thinking “It’s my fault my partner is upset, I must have done something wrong”
7. Discounting The Positive
This is the tendency to ignore or downplay positive experiences or accomplishments.
# If you receive praise for a job well done, you might dismiss it as meaningless, not sincere or undeserved.
# You might discount a compliment you receive on your work, saying, “Oh, that doesn’t really count.”
This is the tendency to focus only on the negative aspects of a situation, while ignoring the positive.
# If you receive a lot of positive feedback on a project but one person criticises it, you might dwell on the criticism and ignore the praise.
# You might dwell on the fact that you made one mistake in a presentation, while ignoring the fact that you received positive feedback on the rest of your work.
9. Mind Reading
This is the tendency to believe that you know what others are thinking, without any evidence.
# Assuming that someone is judging you negatively, without any indication that they are.
# Thinking “They’re not talking to me because they hate me”
This is the tendency to attach negative labels to oneself or others.
# Calling yourself or someone else “stupid” or “lazy,” without considering the complexity of the situation or the person’s individual circumstances.
# When you don’t meet your own expectations, you may label yourself as “a failure” or “useless,” without considering the possibility that your expectations may be unrealistic or unattainable.
These are all examples of common twisted thinking patterns. It is important to recognise and challenge these patterns to think more rationally and make better decisions.
6 Ways To Change Your Twisted Thinking Patterns
1. Recognise Your Twisted Thoughts
Start by recognising the negative thought patterns that are causing you stress or anxiety. Identify your thoughts that tend to be negative, distorted, or irrational. Write them down or keep a journal of your thoughts. By doing so, you can become more aware of when these thoughts are happening.
2. Challenge Your Twisted Thoughts
Once you’ve identified your twisted thinking patterns, challenge them with evidence-based reasoning. Ask yourself if your thoughts are accurate or if you’re making assumptions. Question the validity of your negative or irrational thoughts. Consider if there is evidence to support them, and if there isn’t, look for evidence that contradicts them.
3. Replace Your Twisted Thoughts
Replace your negative thoughts with more positive or rational ones. Try to find alternative, positive ways of looking at a situation.
4. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness can help you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings, without getting caught up in them. Mindfulness meditation is a practice that can help you develop this awareness. Being mindful of your thoughts, feelings, and reactions can help you become more aware of your twisted thinking patterns. Take a few minutes each day to meditate, breathe deeply, or practice other mindfulness techniques.
5. Seek Professional Support
Consider talking to a life coach or mental health professional. If you’re struggling to overcome twisted thinking patterns, it may be helpful to seek professional help. They can help you identify and challenge your negative thought patterns and teach you coping strategies to help you manage your thoughts and feelings.
6. Practice Self-Care
Taking care of your physical and emotional health can also help you overcome twisted thinking patterns. Exercise, eat a healthy diet, get enough sleep, and engage in activities that make you happy and fulfilled.
Remember you are the teacher of your own mind and getting strict on your thoughts is important. Changing twisted thinking patterns takes time and effort, but with persistence, you can improve your mental health and overall well-being.