I thought it might be helpful to look at thinking traps we can fall into particularly when we feel under pressure or vulnerable. When we experience an unhelpful emotion, it is usually accompanied by a habitual thought. As you read the below traps notice ones that you consistently use and begin to bring your awareness when you are doing it. This helps lessens its grip.
Jumping to Conclusions:
We jump to conclusions when we assume that we know what someone else is thinking (mind reading) and when we make predictions about what is going to happen in the future (predictive thinking).
Catastrophising occurs when we “blow things out of proportion“ and we view the situation as terrible, awful, dreadful, and horrible, even though the reality is that the problem itself is quite small.
Black & White Thinking:
This thinking style involves seeing only one extreme or the other. You are either wrong or right, good or bad and so on. There are no inbetweens or shades of gray
This thinking styles involves a “filtering in” and “filtering out” process – a sort of “tunnel vision,” focusing on only one part of a situation and ignoring the rest. Usually this means looking at the negative parts of a situation and forgetting the positive parts, and the whole picture is coloured by what may be a single negative detail.
Shoulding and Musting:
Sometimes by saying “I should…” or “I must…” you can put unreasonable demands or pressure on yourself and others. Although these statements are not always unhelpful (eg “I should not get drunk and drive home”), they can sometimes create unrealistic expectations.
When we overgeneralise, we take one instance in the past or present, and impose it on all current or future situations. If we say “You always…” or “Everyone…”, or “I never…” then we are probably overgeneralising.
Magnification and Minimisation:
In this thinking style, you magnify the positive attributes of other people and minimise your own positive attributes. It’s as though you’re explaining away your own positive characteristics.
Becoming aware of the patterns you use can help you minimise the power they have over you.