Examples of distorted thinking - Deepstash

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The bright side: how to challenge negative beliefs

Examples of distorted thinking

  • Seeing the world in terms of black and white extremes. 
  • A tendency to magnify our faults and minimize our achievements. 
  • Taking an isolated event and assuming that all other events will follow the same pattern. 
  • Jumping to conclusions.
  • Catastrophising: 

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

All-or-nothing thinking
Seing people and situations in either/or categories, without allowing for complexity(e.g.: the best/the worst). In reality, our lives unfold in shades of gray.
Overgeneralizing
When you draw general rules from specific events, and apply them across unrelated situations. Your rules are usually negative rather than positive.

For example, when you don’t get a job you want, you think, “People don’t like me, I’m going to die alone.”

Disqualifying the positive
When you reject positive statements or occurrences by insisting they “don’t count” for some reason or another. For example, your boss praises you in front of your colleagues. When someone mentions it to you later, you say, “She said that because I was standing in front and she couldn’t avoid me.”

Whenever you disqualify the positive, you’re wrongly reinforcing negative beliefs about yourself and your world.

Narrative Habits

The way we talk to ourselves about the events in our lives is subject to the same laws of learning and habit formation that physical behaviors are.

That means we can learn to talk to o...

Events + Thoughts = Emotions

Our emotions are always mediated by some form of thinking. 

If our thoughts determine how we feel, that means how we habitually think will determine how we habitually feel.

Mind Reading

It happens when we assume we understand what other people are thinking without any real evidence.

It is a failure of imagination because we often only imagine and focus on the negative aspects.

“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity”

Robert J Hanlon
Hanlon’s Razor Explained
  • We tend to associate completely disconnected events in a unique way, fitting them into our ‘story’, the narratives we build to create our distorted version of reality.
  • The patterns we think exist may not actually do so, but that does not stop us from assuming negative intent or malice in all that happens around us.
  • We need to realize that the world does not revolve around us and try to approach situations and events in a neutral, objective manner.
The Way To Apply Hanlon’s Razor

The basic rules that we need to apply:

  1. Move from assuming bad intentions towards exploring other causes.
  2. Engage in active communication.
  3. Embrace opportunities.
  4. Stay positive and driven.
  5. Stop blaming and focus on creative problem-solving.
  6. Assume a neutral, unbiased position.

Hanlon’s razor is a potent mental model which can be used in any situation where our first instinct is a negative assumption. Any wrong hypothesis related to the bad intentions of others is counterproductive and can play havoc in our lives.