Avoid Thinking Traps

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As we all know, emotions often get in our way of thinking clearly. They can push us toward thinking in ways that may trap us into a bad situation or by making a bad situation worse. We often learn and are influenced by ways of thinking from different sources including people in our lives such as family, teachers, friends. We may adopt certain ways of thinking through the people we look up to by believing this is the right way to think. Understanding where these thinking patterns come from may help us to recognise and challenge them.

1. All or nothing thinking  

This involves viewing events as either black or white.  For example, if a situation is less than perfect, you consider it a total failure.

2. Over-generalisation

This is a tendency to view a single temporary event as a general or permanent state of affairs. We often use the words “never or always” when that simply is not an accurate description of what has occurred.  

3. Jump to conclusions

We jump to making a judgment about a person or a situation with little or no evidence

4. Exaggeration or magnification

This is the proverbial “making the mountain out of the molehill.”

5. Minimisation

We may discount or minimise either the positive or the negative elements of a situation. We may minimise our accomplishments or we may discount the potential risk that a situation may present.

6. Emotional reasoning

We assume the way we feel is the way things really are. We do not look at the situation objectively or take in to account that others may see it differently.  

7. Confirmation bias

We may accept only data and information that support our current beliefs. We reject or find fault with any information that does not support our current beliefs.

Ron Breazeale

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