Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Cognitive Distortion-Personalization

Personalization is a very common thought disorder.It denotes assuming blame for things not under one's control,holding oneself responsible for others' behavior and interpreting their actions as being directed at oneself even when this is not the case.This kind of thinking produces unwarranted stress and tension. 

When someone holds himself responsible for any blunder,mishap or tragedy which was not his fault,he invokes unnecessary guilt,shame and remorse.Suppose an innocuous remark by someone sets off a heated debate amongst friends and he blames himself for having brought a friendly reunion to a bitter end,he is unjustifiably castigating himself by personalizing the debacle.

Personalization also causes discord and hostility.When a casual remark by an acquaintance is taken personally by someone,it leads to a thaw in the relationship.Taking another example,if a person beset by personal problems passes by a friend without registering his presence,the latter promptly concludes that he is miffed with him.Now he spends hours wondering why that person is annoyed with him and what he had done to deserve such treatment.When they next meet,he gives him the cold shoulder in order to get even,and kaput goes a promising relationship!All this,without any substance.

Many of us fall in this trap some time or the other,but when this becomes a regular pattern it generates rancor,spoils relationships and vitiates the ambience.Of course nobody would choose to do all this knowingly,but our insecurities distort our perception of reality.A person who is unsure of himself and has poor self esteem is more likely to personalize things.

Sustained efforts are needed to get rid of this tendency.Here are some tips:--

Whenever an agonizing thought clouds your mind check its veracity;ascertain if it is fact or fiction.Be more logical and less impetuous while drawing conclusions about everyday happenings.

For longer lasting benefits,strengthen your self esteem and be confident of your value systems and abilities so that you do not hold yourself responsible for everything that goes wrong.You will feel significantly relieved when you have gotten rid of this thought disorder.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Cognitive Distortion--# Magnification and # Minimization

Life would be so much easier if we perceived reality in its' true colors without weighing it down with our insecurities,biases or prejudices.In this way,we even color a normal change with dreadful overtones or magnify the gravity of a problem and invite unnecessary anxiety.

Or we exaggerate our flaws and minimize our capabilities;thus laying a perfect pitch for tension and despondence.That is not all,sometimes we even overestimate others' skills and overlook their weaknesses;placing ourselves many rungs below them.

This is known as Maximization and Minimization.We blow our problems out of all proportions and minimize the positive aspects of our lives.A related distortion is catastrophization,in which we apprehend the worst possible outcome of any situation.A tiny blob on the horizon is taken as a sign of doom.

The ill-effects of these distortions are many.They kill our confidence and we envisage failure even before we have given the task a good try.This not only thwarts success but also further aggravates low self esteem.All this results in a host of negative emotions which are the root cause of depression and anxiety.

We all commit the mistake of magnifying the gravity of a problem sometimes,but it is best to shake off this habit before it takes firm roots.You can do this by being more mindful of your thoughts.Start by being vigilant of the thoughts which make you anxious.Write them down and at the end of the day and evaluate their sagacity.You can also cross-check your judgements with someone whom you hold in high esteem.

Next,try to decipher the hangups which propelled those ideas,why you think the way you do.Perhaps you were belittled by your parent or an older sibling and this has matured into a conviction that you are weak and incompetent.Or a recent setback has made you nervous and apprehensive.

Getting rid of such distortions requires practise and patience.The moment you recognise a thought as being inaccurate,replace it with a more logical one.This will make you more confident and proactive.You will successfully meet challenges and not shirk them.You will realize your full potential and find greater happiness too.