Quite often our conscious thoughts aren’t realistic; they’re irrational and inaccurate. This inaccurate thinking can in turn result in lowering our mood and changing our behaviour. Believing our irrational thoughts can lead to problems including communication issues, relationship problems, and unhealthy decisions.
Whether you’re striving to reach personal or professional goals, or supporting your child through challenges at school, the key to success often starts with recognising and replacing inaccurate thoughts. The most common thinking errors can be divided into these following categories.
Mind Reading – assuming we know what others are thinking.
For example, “people are laughing because they think I look ridiculous in this dress”.
Fortune Telling – predicting the future and assuming it will get worse.
For example, “my teacher has asked me to see her – I must have got all my homework wrong and will probably need to stay after school to complete it”.
Catastrophizing – believing the worst and our inability to cope.
For example, “I can’t present in front of 30 people. I will freeze and make a fool of myself. I will never get the promotion at this rate”.
Labelling – assigning negative traits to ourselves and others.
For example, “he’s rude”, “I’m so slow to learn”.
Discounting the Positives – claiming that positives are trivial/or ignoring them.
For example, “I only did well in the test because it was easy this week”.
Overgeneralising – perceiving a global pattern of negatives on the basis of a single event.
For example, “I am always left out”.
Shoulds/Coulds – wanting things to be perfect and not accepting any less.
For example, “I should know better…I could have seen it coming”.
Personalising – Attributing disproportionate blame to yourself.
For example, “I’m not worth their time or love”.