The Fortune Telling Thinking Trap
Fortune telling is one of the most common thinking traps that people fall into and directly related to anticipatory anxiety.
It is a form of trying to predict future outcomes and also one of the thinking traps that can get in the way of happiness and success.
To some extent, fortune telling is a normal human behaviour because people tend to use past experiences to predict how things might be at some future point in time.
For example, if you have experienced being burnt by fire in the past then you might predict that putting your hands into a fire at some future point is likely to produce the same or a similar experience.
So, in many respects, fortune telling might help you to avoid making old mistakes again – we might even call this ‘learning’.
How many times have you been anxious about an upcoming event (say making a presentation at your workplace or visiting the dentists) only to discover that it turned out to be nowhere near as bad as you thought it might be?
The Problems with Fortune Telling
Inaccurate predictions are much more common than you might think and go to show that for most people, they are pretty useless at accurately predicting the outcomes of future events.
The real problem with fortune telling like this is not the failure rate, which is probably around 99% (the odd prediction is bound to be right once in a while), but the problems that are caused as a consequence of trying to predict future outcomes in the first place.
If you are scheduled to give a business presentation at your workplace next week for example, you may believe that imagining all of the things that could go wrong will help you to prepare for those eventualities.
In this sense you are trying to predict things going wrong and how you will react when they do.
These disaster scenarios inevitably produce feelings of anxiety even though you are not actually making the presentation in at the present time.
Clearly, by creating anxiety in anticipation of things going wrong in the week leading up to the presentation is going to result in you feeling worse on the day.
Fortune telling like this is one of the prime causes of anticipatory anxiety.
Arrange your FREE initial consultation here.
During this consultation we will discuss your particular issues and the different types of mental health counselling we offer (including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – CBT) without you having to commit to any counselling going forward.
The consultation lasts around 50 minutes and is a great opportunity to meet with either Paul or Joan and decide if you would like to proceed with any support.
Paul Lee BSc. MSc. Psych.
You can contact Paul by e-mail on:
Tel: 07434 776125
Joan Lee D. Hyp. MIAEBP.
You can contact Joan by e-mail on:
Tel: 07434 776504