How to Reframe Black and White Thinking and become less emotionally reactive - Deepstash

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Black and white thinking

Black and white thinking

  • Thinking in extremes. Using words like always, never, must, should, horrible, perfect etc
  • This type of thinking results in extreme emotions and can make a situation worse.
  • The key to resolve black and white thinking is to look at reality in a more nuanced manner and get honest with ourselves
  • Instead of saying ‘you never do something’ say that ‘she does these sometimes’.


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Why do we think in ‘black or white’

Why do we think in ‘black or white’

  • It justifies you.
  • It excuses you from work.
  • It protects you from feelings extreme emotions like disappointment, sadness etc.
  • It helps you feel powerless.
  • It kinda feels good.


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Reframing black and white thinking

Reframing black and white thinking

  • Notice extreme words like 'always', 'never', 'horrible' etc.
  • Take a deep breath and slow down.
  • Name the emotion - like I feel angry, for example I feel  
  • Reframe your thoughts by - 
  1. Use both/and - You can feel two emotions at the same time. Eg I am smart and valuable but i make mistakes too.
  2. Look for exceptions like "my husband does the dishes sometimes"
  • Be specific about the problem. Specify what’s troubling you. Instead of saying 'everything is horrible' describe what specifically is horrible.
  • Be accountable. What can be done to help the situation


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