Thought is defined as a higher mental process that allows us to establish connections between ideas or representations.
We start from the fact that the human being has a logical thought process. Thus, we define ourselves as Homo sapiens (from Latin, wise man), ignoring that, the truth is that a large number of the thoughts we have daily are deformed. This causing errorsin our conclusions as a result of the typical thinking process.
Perhaps, after all, we are not as wise as we thought.
What is a distortion or error in thinking?
A distorted thought is one that derives from an erroneous interpretation of the reality of the moment. As a result of these cognitive distortions, a series of errors arise, the so-called errors and / or fallacies of thought.
Keep in mind that these thoughts are totally common. In fact, we all have them daily. However, this does not mean that they are entirely “healthy” or beneficial.
In reality, our way of thinking, which was thought to be free from influence, turns out to be continually influenced by the context of our situations. Our brains continually take “shortcuts” that ignore the logical deductions, in order to save energy. The result is that, on many occasions, we make mistakes in our conclusions.
These thinking errorscan cause us great discomfort if we use them continuously and unconsciously, causing anxietyand sadness, among others.One of the best known therapies for treating these thought distortions is cognitive therapy, developed by psychiatrist Aaron Beck.
The objective of acknowledging these thoughts is none other than learning to recognize them in order to avoid them as much as we are able to, so we may avoid the discomfort they produce.
After all, cognitive therapy (like most) seeks, ultimately, to eradicate suffering and achieve well-being.
“The mind is its own place and it can make hell a paradise, or heaven a hell” -John Milton-
The errors and / or fallacies of thought
Only one element of the situation is seen, excluding the rest. Usually taking only the negative details. Ex: “Today I lost the keys. I am never lucky in life.”
Black and white or polarized thinking
Tendency to take things in an extreme way, without a middle ground. Ex: “I forgot my daughter’s birthday. I am the worst parent in the world”
A general conclusion is drawn from a simple incident or piece of evidence, expecting such to always occur. expecting such to always occur. Ex: “I bought an expired cheese. Everything is bad in that store” or “My relationship is over. I will never find anyone else”.
What other people do, think, or feel is interpreted without evidence. Ex: “I know he doesn’t like me. I feel it.”
The worst is expected to always happen. Ex: “My head hurts. I probable have a tumor.”
Everything that others say or do is thought to be related to oneself. Example: “This person has parked badly so that I can’t park next to them with my car.”
Emotional reasoning / projection
Belief that what one thinks or feels is an absolute truth and believes everyone else thinks it too. Ex: “I feel stupid, therefore, everyone must believe I am”.
Fortune teller’s mistake
We think we know what will happen. We predict negative future events without having proof for nor against it. They are also usually negative predictions. Ex: “Everything is bound to wrong and fall apart.”
It is continually intended to prove that one’s own opinions and actions are correct. Ex: “I can tell if someone is trustworthy just by looking at them.”
Inflexible rules that everyone, including yourself, must follow. The words that indicate this distortion are “should”, “would have”, and “would have”.
Either others are responsible for my suffering or they suffer because of me.
The person feels externally controlled (powerless). Feeling helpless, like a victim of fate. The internal control fallacy makes the person responsible for the suffering or happiness of those around them.
Fallacy of justice
The person thinks that they know what justice is, thinking they always knows what is correct and just, becoming a judge of others and of themselves. Typical phrases are those that contain: “This is so because…” “This is so and that’s it”.
Divine reward fallacy
Hope that one day all the sacrifice made will be worth something. Ex: “I sacrifice all of my time and effort so that my children have everything for their futures.”
The need to change people because hopes for happiness seem to depend entirely on it.
Serena recommends you the following in Serenmind:
Psychotherapeutic program “Thoughts”
Session “Thought errors (part 1)”
Session “Thought errors (part 2)”