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Cognitive Distortion Or Thinking Errors – How CBT Can Help

Updated: May 24



Irregular and imperfect thinking is found in everyone. To deal with negative thoughts, solid mental stability and capability are needed. Or else, negative reviews can easily cloud our minds and block all the openings for something positive. The development of negative and unhealthy thoughts can take an image of a series, group, or repetition, and we may call them distortions and errors. Cognitive distortion is another name for all the thinking errors that develop within us. And for every illness, there is a remedy, and CBT is the perfect response for thinking disorders.


What are Cognitive Distortions or Errors?

Distortion in mind regarding thoughts can be easily termed as wavy and irregular thinking patterns. These patterns are not based on facts and reality but result from our mental strength. Weak mental stability allows our minds deep into poor thoughts without a solid basis.

For example, we all know someone with whom we can share many ideas and plans. However, there remains a fixed response from that person in negative. Standard replies from that person can be, "You can do much better than this" and "I think there is still room for improvement". Though some can say these words appear constructive and helpful, you need help with a solution. Instead, for a person with troubling thoughts, these words will take them deep into wayward thoughts. And this is a cognitive distortion that acts likewise in your mind since you can find yourself with the same questions mostly.

Some of the common types of cognitive or thinking errors in CBT are explained below.


Black and White Thinking

Black and white represent two opposite sides of the story. And you can only think of both of the extremes without any grey pattern in between. Simply, it is either yes or no, or all or nothing. There is no midway or anything to work in between.


Mental Filter

Though filtering is a good sign, it is useless if you only focus on the negatives. Filtering out the positive ideas, news, and characters and focusing on failures and outcomes takes away the ability to try.


Disqualifying Positivity

Often you have been doing something good, productive, and with hard work. But you need to continue and look at the efforts you have made. And suddenly, you decide to discontinue the positive result you have done.


Mind Reading

Being in a state of always focusing on what is going on in others' minds is also not a good omen. And one can constantly develop thoughts that the other is thinking about.


Crystal Ball Glazing

Another standard distortion error is thinking about the future so profoundly that you find failures ahead. And the only thing about the end you can predict is you fail every time.


How do Thoughts or Thinking Errors Affect our Mental Health?

Thoughts that develop in our minds allow us to behave likewise. , the actions you perform reflect what you are thinking or what has been growing in your mind. Broadly, think of you in a state of anger. Anger develops when something goes against you or happens against your taste.

But anger becomes your physical response when your mind is exceptionally crowded with negative thoughts. In essence, it is your mind that sends that necessary signal to you to show your signs of anger. Similarly, poor and false ideas never let you experience confidence and success. They crowd you in a way that you find safe in a state of failure and unknown.


Practical Example

We can better explain the effects thinking errors can have on your mental health. Consider you are going to a party or gathering where you are new to everyone. So here's what you will be thinking, behaving, acting, feeling, and responding through your body.


Trigger Feel:

You are about to meet new people at a social gathering.


Thoughts Developing:

I might embarrass myself or become a centre point of weirdness that people might feel I am stupid.


Feelings:

You will find yourself in anxiety, worthlessness, dreadfulness, and low mood.


Your Behavior:

The outcome of these thoughts and feelings will be that you will sit in corners, avoid speaking with others, and you might leave the social gathering while making any excuse. The latter can become a regular occurrence with you.


Body Reactions:

The entire scenario will leave your body in a tremble with increased heart rate, shallow breathing, sweaty hands, and hot flushes.

How to Identify Thinking Errors?

The easiest way to identify thinking errors can be to be able to distinguish between thoughts and facts. Most of the studies that develop in our minds result from situations we have been experiencing. The simplest way to counter these thoughts is to filter them. Let us explain to you the idea of thinking errors and what a random response by a person against it is.

Consider James is a department head in a company, and his team needs to perform up to the expectations. With the review meeting around the corner, James knows that there will be around a dozen members and given that he is shy to speak up front, there is no chance he will be confronted even when his team is exemplary. The meeting goes as planned, and the boss responds negatively to the entire team's work. When James returns to his desk, all the negative thoughts begin to pile up in his mind, such as:

  • My last day of employment here may be today.

  • How will I pay my rent and afford food and other stuff?

  • How long will I have to struggle before finding a new job?

  • What about the days I have worked this month?

Thoughts can develop, but the problem with James is that the meeting with the boss should have highlighted any growing situations in his mind. Instead, it is James that is crowding his mind with thoughts that have no basis and no factual existence. As simple, what you and James can do in such situations is to filter out reviews as thinking errors.

How Does CBT Help With Thinking Errors?

As the name suggests, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is directed towards improving your behavior against negative and unwanted thoughts. Whenever negative thoughts enter your mind, filtering them as triggering opinions or facts is imperative. With this simple methodology of correct thinking, you can find a way to treat your weakness, i.e. thinking errors.

Maintaining a regular journal is a more straightforward way to help your CBT therapist in this regard. Your journal's purpose must be to write down all the thoughts that enter your mind and clog your mind. Next, you can distinguish these thoughts by separating them as thinking errors or facts. Once you note them down as thinking errors, it becomes easy to devise a plan to counter them.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a proven methodology to counter behavioral thoughts. This therapy aims to challenge and take the challenging, negative, and unhelpful thoughts on the chest and upfront. And your CBT therapist then works with you to develop more thoughtful, helpful, and positive alternatives such as balanced thinking to counter the cognitive errors.

What negative thoughts do is they implode your anxiety and thoughts of anger. Consequently, with CBT therapy, you can counter it with alternative and positive reviews. This results in a reduction of your stress, temper, and anger. And you find perfect ways to ease your mind.


Some Common Thinking Errors That CBT Can Help With

CBT, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, is the simplest and most effective therapy against behavioral issues. Thinking errors and cognitive distortions are thoughts that clog your mind; CBT is directed to present solutions in the form of alternate thoughts. CBT is always directed at dealing with basic thinking errors that we all experience. Here is where CBT will be helping you.

  • "All or Nothing" Thinking

It is dealt with by thinking of midway responses and solutions.

  • Mental Filter

Do not waste time focusing on negative thoughts that are far from facts. Use positives to build yourself upon.

  • Disqualifying Positivity

Make a list of your positive accomplishments and skills, and think of yourself as a hard worker and a winner in the long race.

  • Crystal Ball Glazing

Ask yourself where these thoughts are taking you. Before the future starts, you need to be clear of your mind.

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