Unhelpful Thinking Styles Pt. 2

In part 1 of this post we talked more about what unhelpful thinking styles are and why they are formed. Make sure to read that one first here!

Unhelpful thinking styles

Let’s talk about the last 5 unhelpful thinking styles:

1. Magnification and minimization

Magnification happens when we blow things out of proportion and minimization when we inappropriately give something less meaning than we should. Typically we magnify the negatives and minimize the positives.

2. Emotional reasoning

Thinking that because we feel one way, what we think must be true. For example, feeling hopeless and thinking that the homework is therefore impossible to do.

3. Critical words

Using critical words such as “should”, “must”, “have to” etc. When we use these words towards ourselves we often end up feeling guilty or like a failure, and when we use these toward others they often feel frustrated.

4. Labelling

Using labels to talk about ourselves or others. For example, I’m stupid, you are useless, or I’m a loser.

5. Personalization

Blaming yourself for something that wasn’t your fault, or blaming others for something that in fact was your fault.

These unhelpful thinking styles affect our lives a lot. They are supposed to make thinking easier, but actually they make our thinking very negative. This in turn has a lot of consequences on our mental health. Remember that what we think and do affects how we feel. Being able to recognize the distorted thinking is the first step to changing it!

Did you notice any of these cognitive distortions in your thinking?

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