Common thinking errors

Common thinking errors (David Burns, MD)
• all-or-nothing thinking
• overgeneralization
• mental filter
• discounting the positive
• fortune telling
• magnifying or minimizing
• emotional reasoning
• shoulda-coulda thinking
• labeling
• self blame or blame of others

A simple (though not always easy) way to defuse these thoughts is to notice, label, and replace them with rational, realistic thoughts. Albert Ellis, Ph.D. is a trailblazer in this approach.

Dr. Martin Seligman, a pioneer of Positive Psychology, suggests these steps:

1) Look at the evidence
2) Look for possible alternative explanations
3) Realistically evaluate the implications.

In future posts I’ll go into detail on each of the thinking errors and provide examples of using various approaches to defuse them. For now, see which ones you think may apply to you. You may even try some of the approaches above and see if you can begin to neutralize some of your self-defeating thoughts some of the time.