Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Cognitive Distortion--# Fortune Telling or # Jumping to Conclusions

Cognitive distortions are irrational,biased, or exaggerated thoughts about our own personality or simply about what happens around us.They warp our understanding of reality,thereby rendering us ill equipped to lead a fruitful life.Alice Boyes in Psychology Today has listed as many as 50 cognitive distortions.For Black and White cognitive distortion you can see this post.

Fortune Telling or Jumping to Conclusions is another distortion with which   many of us might be familiar.As the very name suggests,those prone to this kind of thinking decide beforehand what the outcome of anything is going to be.They apprehend dangers where none exist,and permit their misgivings to guide their actions.The seed might lie in a painful past,lack of confidence,low self esteem,or innate pessimism.

Jumping to conclusions implies forming opinions and imputing motives to others without any substantive evidence.This kind of thinking is different from sixth sense or instinct.When you jump to conclusions about others' conduct without considering attending circumstances,you put up a wall against them. This can be detrimental to your relationships.

Those who denounce everything without even giving it a fair trial are usually creatures of habit who feel secure in their comfort zones.Whether it is about a new job,interview,or a change of domicile;they will start with the conviction that it is not going to work (positive fortune telling is rare).A lack of resolve and half-hearted efforts will result in fulfilling their predictions,reinforcing their way of thinking.

With the passage of time cognitive distortions mutate into automatic thoughts and influence our behavior significantly.Premonitions prevent us from picking our way forward in life.We could miss a lucky chance or a pleasurable experience.When our mind is repeatedly sending ominous signals, evolving and realizing our potential becomes difficult.Trashing everything new consigns us to a subpar,monotonous,lonely existence.

Naturally,this kind of thinking is deleterious for success and happiness.You can get out of this rut by being more mindful of your thoughts:-

How many times in a day do you presuppose outcomes and intentions?Recall,and write down the number of times this happened.

How often did you change your course because of a premonition?

Now check if these beliefs were supported by evidence.

Would a third,objective person have reached the same conclusions?

Are your assumptions doing you any good,or are they blocking your progress?

Would you be happier if there was less negativity and more accuracy in your thoughts?

Gyalwang Drukpa has put it very nicely-

"You will find life more relaxing and rewarding if you go about your daily life with a little more mindfulness which encourages appreciation,helps us be more generous and kind and so brings us happiness" 
    





Tuesday, February 28, 2017

#Cognitive Distortion-- #Black and White Thinking


Cognitive distortions are inaccurate,biased thought patterns which mostly spawn negative emotions about ourselves or the world around us.These negative emotions influence our beliefs as well as our behavior,and foment relationship conflicts,anxiety or depression.If we become habituated to distorted thinking,we fail to realize that our views about our own self or those around us are totally misplaced.The resultant agony can be averted by nailing the irrational/exaggerated/faulty thought patterns and getting rid of them.



One such cognitive distortion is Black and White Thinking-the belief that things are either right or wrong, good or bad.Those who fall prey to such thinking totally miss  that there are many more shades in between,which are much more common and reasonable.

How often do you utter polar words like awful-awesome,disgusting-heavenly,scoundrel-saint,imbecile-genius,detestable-lovable?These extreme terms certainly embellish our language with color and intensity,but do they portray the said person or situation accurately?Seldom can any individual or circumstance be pinned at one end of the spectrum.

Many of our problems start when we begin to think of life conditions or our own image in such extremes.Suppose I fail to finish a project in time and then curse myself that this always happens with me,I am good for nothing.Finishing it on the dot was what counted with me and since this did not happen,I felt that I had failed--totally!I did not consider how near completion my work was,and how good its quality.If I always gloss over the finer/better aspects of any situation then my vision of the world,or my life,will always be dark and murky.

Suppose I expect a friend to support me in an ongoing altercation but she chooses to take the other side.Upon going home I rave and rant about her,using epithets like mean,horrible,good for nothing;forgetting her other sterling qualities.I may even break off with her,and then repent all my life.The correct thought should have been that she had disappointed me this time.No one is all good or all bad,and expecting people to conform to your specifications can mar relationships.

It can even become worse.Think of the various instances of young students killing themselves simply because they could not gain admission in an institute of their choice.Why couldn't they have settled for the second best and continued to live?The same thing happens when a lover's advances are spurned by his/her heartthrob.So many people sink into depression or contemplate suicide because of such setbacks,overlooking the positive aspects of their lives.It is all or nothing for them--another name for Black and white thinking.

This kind of thinking wipes out the whites and leaves only dismal,depressing blacks.Therefore,if you catch yourself slipping into this mode,pause.Do a reality check.How close to truth are you?What are the facts which point to the opposite direction?Introspect --what is it in you which prompted you to use that term?Is it a bias,vindictiveness,jealousy,lack of confidence,poor self esteem,past experience,or habitual despondence?

Once you begin to view reality in a rational,objective manner, a lot of your anxiety will dissolve,leaving a more amicable and peaceful you behind.

Next--Fortune Telling

Image,courtesy google.




Tuesday, February 14, 2017

When a Relationship Breaks

It is excruciating to go through a  breakup in any relationship,especially when you are at the receiving end.The pain scorches you to the core.A part of you whisks away with the one who broke up with you.It could be anyone-a romantic partner,spouse,parent,offspring or a sibling.

Actually the atmosphere today is not conducive for stability and continuity.Everybody is on the go.We are not satisfied with what we have,and aspire for more in every sphere-whether it be relationships or lifestyle.No harm in striving for a better life,but in our quest for whatever it is we are running after,we sometimes even ditch what is an integral part of our lives; what has depth,true meaning,and is good for us.

The tragedy is,that such instances are becoming more and more common.We are exposed to countless stimuli every day,and those who have little self control are easily swayed.That is why there are rising instances of adultery and divorce today,not to talk of breakups in relationships.Such parting of ways inflicts a grievous injury on the one who is left behind.

What can you possibly do if you are at the receiving end?Very little to bring that person back.Because he is scurrying after that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.While he is pursuing his goal headlong it will be difficult to divert his attention.He may return if he realizes the futility of his chase,or he may keep his distance if he is too shamefaced to confront you again.Time will tell.

What you can do is,find a way to soothe your hurt and put your house in order once again.To start with,have a good cry.Admit to yourself that this was a severe blow.Don't sweep your emotions under the carpet.Grieving is in order.

But for how long?Set your own limit and then tie up the loose ends.Think back-did you give this relationship the best you could,or more importantly,what could morally have been expected of you?If yes,then trash the remorse and the guilt pangs.

If however,you were at fault,then you could maybe attempt a patch-up.If this is not in your cards then treat it as a learning lesson,a springboard from which to leap into a new era.You know now,how to avert a breakup.An honest appraisal will protect you from making the same mistake twice and breaking your heart once again.

As any association or era recedes into the past,it is the pleasant memories which cause maximum grief.But was this bond all good without any jarring episodes?There must have been unpleasant confrontations too.Desist from viewing the past through rose-tinted glasses.Things came to a head because of a lack of compatibility or divergent values,motives or goals.The continuance of this relationship might not have been so hunky-dory after all.

Relationship breakups are rife in those who are on the threshold of adulthood.The prevailing milieu is very challenging for them.They have a tough time picking their way through a jungle of attractions and distractions,and often end up aping their peer group or their role models.In the proccess,they sometimes discard the core for the chaff.

Certain things in life are destined to happen.We cannot control everything.Except how far or how deep we allow anything to affect us.That is very much in our hands.It helps to remember that while relationships make us happy,give support,help us to forget painful instances and relieve the drudgery of monotonous routines;they also impose restraints, bestow responsibilities,and demand explanations.When a relationship breaks the advantages fly out of the window,as do the curbs and restrictions.So now you can be more your own self,do things you enjoy and spend your day as you like without having to listen to grumbling,irritating or disapproving noises in the background.Make the most of it!

Image courtesy google