Six of the Most Common Unhealthy Thinking Patterns

Anxiety: Simple Changes
February 5, 2011
Depression: Helping Yourself
February 16, 2011

Six of the Most Common Unhealthy Thinking Patterns

Many people seem to fall into one of more of these patterns from time-to-time, but it’s important to catch and get perspective. Review the following six and assess your thinking patterns. Do any of these look familiar?

PERSONALIZING— Life events are an attack on your being. It’s taking external events as personal rejections and overestimating the extent an event is related to you.

MAGNIFYING— Making molehills into mountains. It’s taking life’s events and exaggerating them. Everything seems to look like a catastrophe. Life is just one drama after the next.

OVERGENERALIZING— Generalizing is relying on past events to predict the future. People with is pattern tend to cast doubts on their adequacy and find it difficult to trust. They hold on to past hurts, failures, and rejections, and recite them as evidence for why the future looks gloomy. They figure the past will just repeat itself.

EMOTIONAL REASONING— Emotional reasoning is confusing feelings with facts. Regardless of the evidence to the contrary, the person’s convinced that if they felt it, it must be so. What they feel, they think is true, despite what anyone else says about the situation.

BLACK/WHITE— Polarized thinking is a pattern that views life as all-or-nothing, good-or-bad, or black-or-white. People view events as right or wrong, good or bad, and they judge their performance (or their friends and partner’s) on the basis of their own impossible standards.

SELECTIVE FOCUSING- Selective focus is focusing so intently on a few negative traits that the positive ones are overlooked. It’s focusing on what’s wrong rather than on what’s right. People spend too much time and energy focusing on a few problems instead of the positive solutions.

MINIMIZING— Minimizing is denying or discounting any feelings associated with significant events of one’s life. People shut down their emotions over life’s significant hurts and events.

How do we defeat unhealthy thought patterns? Before you can begin to correct unhealthy thought patterns, you must clearly identify them. Seeing these patterns is the first step, next is learning how to replace them with healthy patterns. Call and talk with a counselor.