What are thinking traps, how do they affect me and what can I do about it?
Most people won’t spend much time mulling over the pros and cons of the way that they think, but if you do want to change something about yourself that seems to be out of your control, then it might be a good idea!
One of most important things that you can learn about yourself is that your thoughts, attitudes and beliefs have the most significant impact on the way that you interpret the world around you and how you feel about what’s going on.
If you feel excessively bad than the chances are that you are thinking ‘badly’, or as we say, in an unhelpful way.
Most people don’t deliberately think like this and in most cases will be unaware that this is what’s going on!
Thinking traps are ‘slips’ in your thinking that everybody makes from time to time and in the same way that ‘spurious’ programmes on your computer make your computer run slowly or inaccurately, thinking traps limit your ability to make an ‘accurate’ assessment of your own experiences.
Thinking traps can lead you to:
- Get the wrong end of the stick
- Jump to conclusions
- Assume the worst
and effectively get ‘in the way’ leading to ‘distortions’ of what is actually happening or has happened.
The good news is that no matter how long you have been falling into these thinking traps, you can always change them.
Common Thinking Traps
Here we list the most common (but not necessarily ALL) thinking traps that we encounter with our clients:
- Catastrophic Thinking – Making mountains out of molehills.
- Fortune Telling – Trying to predict the future.
- Mind Reading – I know what you’re thinking!
- Emotional Reasoning – Feelings aren’t facts.
- Overgeneralising – Always, Never and Everybody.
- Labelling – Successful / Failure.
- Imperative Thinking – I need to, I have to and I must.
- Disqualifying the positives – I didn’t really deserve that Nobel Prize.
- Personalisation – it’s always my fault when things go wrong.
- Polarised Thinking – Ignoring the middle-ground.
Most of us will recognise at least some of these thinking traps as things we do everyday, but by learning to identify these ‘thinking styles’ in our everyday experience we give ourselves the chance to take affirmative action by learning the tools and techniques to change them.
If you’d like to learn how to identify and then change your own thinking traps, then don’t hesitate to get in touch to arrange an initial consultation with us to discuss the options available.