negative thinking

How you can identify negative thinking patterns

When we talk about our mental well-being, an important aspect to consider is our thoughts and patterns of thinking. Our emotions and behaviour tend to stem from these underlying thoughts (cognitive behavioural therapy).

Sometimes, we tend to adopt some distorted or faulty patterns of thinking which evoke unhelpful or negative reactions in us. Being aware of these and identifying them is a great first step in working on ourselves. Psychologist Kanika Shah of Nimai Healthcare looks at some of the commonly occurring distortions in our thinking.

How you can identify negative thinking patterns

This can take an overall toll on your emotional, physical and mental well-being. Hence, it’s important to examine these underlying thoughts. Here’s how you can identify recurring negative thinking patterns by focusing on the below aspects.

  • Magnification

We tend to exaggerate the importance of issues and problems and most likely minimise  the importance of positive things. For instance we might make a big deal of one small mistake at work and minimise the importance of someone praising us.

  •  Catastrophising

This is when we tend to think of only the worst case outcomes for a particular situation.

  •  All or nothing thinking

When we think only in extremes or absolutes like always and never, without accounting for possible moderations in the middle.

  •  Personalisation

Believing that we are responsible for things outside our control; whereas there usually are many factors affecting it.

Jumping to conclusions

This can be through mind reading- making assumptions about other people’s thoughts without actually clarifying or asking them. We also do this through fortune telling where we expect a bad outcome without any evidence.

Everyone experiences these ways of thinking from time to time, but in extreme forms they can be harmful for us. So, it’s useful to be aware of them and when they’re cropping up excessively in our lives.