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Healthy Thinking: Be Aware of Thinking Traps

Thinking Traps by Kinga Burjan

Can changing how you think about things really affect the way you feel?

Absolutely!

There is a relationship between your thoughts and you feelings: Changing your thoughts can change your mood.

Let me explain.

Certain thoughts can increase feelings of anxiety and depression

Let’s refer to them as “Thinking Traps”

Examples of thinking traps are…

  • Jumping to Conclusions: This is when our brain creates a conclusion that isn’t necessarily true. More facts are needed.
  • Catastrophizing: This is when our brain jumps to the worst possible outcome.
  • Mind Reading: This is when our brain assumes what the other person is thinking, and basis our thoughts about that person or situation on that assumption.
  • Negative Filtering: This is when our brain only sees the negative in the situation and minimizes or doesn’t consider the positives in the situation.
  • Overgeneralizing: This is when our brain overgreneralizes a person, situation or ourselves by making a sweeping judgement with the words “always” or “never”.
  • Fortune Telling: This is when our brain tries to predict the future without taking into consideration all other facts.
  • Overestimating Danger: This is when our brain exaggerates the likelihood of something bad happeing to us.
  • All or Nothing Thinking: This is when our brain looks at the possible outcome being on the extreme end of the spectrum (really good or really bad), missing the possible outcomes inbetween these extremes.
  • Emotional Reasoning: This is when our brain believes what we feel without also looking at the evidence.

Start paying attention to your thoughts – especially when you notice that you’re down or anxious.

You can even write these persistent thoughts down and challenge the evidence against them.

For example: Is this thought really true? What is the evidence against it? What would I tell my best friend if they were telling me the same thing?

Overtime you will retrain your brain and how it looks at the world. You might even start noticing that you are feeling better.

The more you practice noticing, labelling and changing these thoughts, the easier it will be to do.

Keep practicing. Don’t give up!

What if you are still feeling down or anxious?

There are many factors that can contribute to feeling depressed or anxious. Please reach out to a professional to figure what may be going on for you, especially if you are feeling stuck, helpless or hopeless.

You are not alone.

Join one of Trafalgar’s complimentary support groups:

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Nathaniel Israel, MA, RP

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Kinga Burjan, MA, RP

Clinical Director, Virtual Integrated Programming

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