Tuesday, March 28, 2017

#Cognitive Distortion-# Filtering

Normally when we filter something we keep the useful portions and throw off the chaff.But in the thinking process known as filtration we do just the opposite.Or we may may concentrate so much upon one aspect of a situation or task that we forget about the rest.

Suppose you go to a party and have a good time with your friends but one acquaintance-B- snubs you.If this spoils your mood so much that you cannot sleep the night,then you are guilty of filtration.You ignore the overall experience and cling to a tiny bad part of it.

We receive adulation from some and rejection from some others.We may succeed in one enterprise but fail in another.Amongst many warm relationships,there might be a failed one too.Those who can put the disconcerting elements behind them,or at least not concentrate solely upon them;are the ones who will be hopeful,sanguine,enthusiastic and happy.

But agonizing over annoying bits and ignoring the positive aspects could depress anybody.Filtration saps self esteem and makes one pessimistic.This is self-goal or self inflicted misery.Those who feel depressed and dissatisfied with life should scrutinize their thoughts to find out if the cause lies in filtration or any other cognitive distortion.

It is easy to get rid of this habit,only you should first recognize that your thinking is erroneous and it is harming your interests.One way of doing this is,to add 'but' after every troublesome thought and continue from there.Going back to the earlier example,when you say to yourself " B does not like me," add "but I have many friends who do."See the difference?Doing this every time will diminish your anxiety.You will be more satisfied with the tenor of your life.

Try to be more rational and balanced about the things which normally pique you.Whenever a troublesome feeling raises its head,recall the agreeable elements associated with it,which you had overlooked.Soon you will realize that along with the annoying bits there are also many pleasing features in your life.

These seemingly minor changes can cut out the negativity in your life and make you happier.

Magnification and Minimization. 

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"