‘Thinking errors’, also known as ‘cognitive distortions’ or unhelpful thinking styles are biased perspectives we might have about ourselves, our situations, other people or the future. Thinking errors are negative, irrational thoughts and beliefs that we unconsciously reinforce. We have already talked about some of the unhelpful thinking styles in two of our previous blogs (blog 1 & blog 2), but here are a few unhelpful thinking styles that you may not have heard about before.
Making negative predictions about the future based on little to no evidence. For example, assuming the presentation you are going to make will go horribly.
2. Spotlight effect
Believing you are noticed more than you really are. Overestimating your effect on others. For example, thinking that everyone at dinner noticed you spilling juice on your shirt.
Believing to know what other people are thinking about you without sufficient evidence. For example, assuming the person you met definitely sees you as “weird or awkward”.
4. Idealistic comparing
Comparing yourself unreasonably and unfavorably to others. Only seeing the positive aspects in others and measuring your life against theirs instead of focusing on your own path. For instance, thinking you’ll never be like one of your friends and that you should be able to have as many friends online as they do.
Unhelpful thinking styles are often just attempts of the brain to simplify the complex world we are living in. By making these types of assumptions our brain tries to find easy explanations for things happening around us. Sometimes it might even be an attempt by our brain to protect us. However, these thinking styles often make our thinking more negative, which affects our mood. Luckily, even if unhelpful thinking styles have been developing for many years, it is never too late to learn to recognize them and change them.