You Are What You Think
It is not uncommon to give ourselves internal messages without being aware of it… called cognitive dialogues, these may be helpful or harmful, depending upon what we are “telling” ourselves. Although this internal banter is part of what all humans do, sometimes we may become “stuck” with distorted thinking or assumptions which may cause psychological distress. The following is a sampling of ways that our thinking, or cognitions, can be damaging, adapted from Cognitive Distortions (1999) from The Shyness Institute in Portola Valley, CA.
All or Nothing Thinking (also referred to as “black and white” thinking), where thinking is very rigid… something or someone is either good or bad, with no other possibilities in between.
Mind Reading, where it is assumed that another person is reacting negatively to you, without verifying it with them.
“Shoulds” is when you believe that you must live up to some perfectionistic expectation, which has been given to you by another or yourself.
Catastrophizing, when the worst-case scenario is imagined happening, with no other options considered.
Emotional Reasoning is when feelings become confused with facts. The way you feel isn’t necessarily the way things are.
These are a handful of the many ways which we are able to sabotage our own happiness and well-being by negatively thinking. As Albert Bandura stated in Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control (1997), “Self-belief does not necessarily ensure success, but self-disbelief assuredly spawns failure