Our brain encounters a huge amount of information every moment.
And in order not to waste time on its constant consideration and systematization, in the course of evolution, we acquired mental templates and automatic thoughts.
Cognitive distortions are errors in human thinking based on distorted beliefs. Cognitive errors systematically occur in context-like situations and often lead to incorrect reasoning and irrational behavior.
Cognitive distortions are sometimes beneficial — they help a person, under certain conditions, quickly find solutions and adapt to the situation. In most cases, cognitive distortions create an obstacle to the development and realization of a person’s potential.
There are hundreds of different cognitive distortions, and without them, our brain simply could not function. Here are some of them: catastrophizing, overgeneralization, imperatives, black-and-white thinking, the illusion of control, labeling, etc.
All cognitive distortions have one thing in common: they appear because of an unwillingness to take a step back and look at the whole picture in general.
We prefer to work with something familiar and do not want to look for miscalculations in our plans. There are benefits to positive thinking. But if important decisions are made blindly, you are unlikely to make the best possible choice.
Before making a serious decision, make sure that you are not a victim of cognitive distortions. To do this, take a step back and ask yourself:
- Why do you think it is necessary to act in this way?
- Are there counterarguments to your opinion?
- Who influences your beliefs?
- Do you follow other people’s opinions because you believe in them?
- What will you lose if you make this decision? And what will you get?
If you don’t analyze why you think this way and not another way, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of thinking and learn to think for yourself.
Detection of distortions, and their rethinking allows you to abandon stereotyped, irrational strategies of behavior and emotional response.