Frances Farmer

Do you think like this?

In blog, Mental/Emotional Health on October 30, 2013 at 6:00 am

The other side of stress, what not to do, is rarely talked about.

Stress has two sides: thoughts and the behavior those thoughts spur.

Making a conscious effort to do the right thing is as important as knowing what you are doing wrong in relation to stress and negative energy.

To change your actions, you first must change your thoughts.

What Not To Do (10 Thinking Distortions):

  1. All-or-nothing thinking: You see things in black and white categories. If your performance falls short of perfect, you see yourself as a total failure.
  1. Overgeneralization: You see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat.
  1. Mental filter: You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively so that your vision of all reality becomes darkened, like the drop of ink that discolors the entire beaker of water.
  1. Disqualifying the positive: You reject positive experiences by insisting they “don’t count” for some reason or other. You maintain a negative belief that is contradicted by your everyday experiences.
  1. Jumping to conclusions: You make a negative interpretation even though there are no definite facts that convincingly support your conclusion.
  • Mind reading: You arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you and don’t bother to check it out.
  • The Fortune Teller Error: You anticipate that things will turn out badly and feel convinced that your prediction is an already-established fact.
  1. Magnification (catastrophizing) or minimization: You exaggerate the importance of things (such as your goof-up or someone else’s achievement), or you inappropriately shrink things until they appear tiny (your own desirable qualities or someone else’s limitations).
  1. Emotional reasoning: You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are: “I feel it, so it must be true.”
  1. Should statements: You try to motivate yourself with shoulds and shouldn’ts, as if you have to be punished before you can be expected to do anything. “Musts” and “oughts” are also offenders. The emotional consequence is guilt. When you direct should statements toward others, you feel anger, frustration, and resentment.
  1. Labeling and mislabeling: This is an extreme form of overgeneralization. Instead of describing your error, you attach a negative label to yourself: “I’m a loser.” When someone else’s behavior rubs you the wrong way, you attach a negative label to him, “He’s a jerk.” Mislabeling involves describing an event with language that is highly colored and emotionally loaded.
  1. Personalization: You see yourself as the cause of some problem, or take on someone’s opinion as having more value than it does.


Now, you can start noticing your patterns of thoughts to see which thinking distortions you practice the most.

Once you realize which distortions are prevalent in your mind, you can begin to understand why you think a certain way and begin to eradicate them and replace them with positivity.

Go through this list carefully and see which of these negative thought patterns you tend to have.

Next week, I’ll tell you which one I have to watch out for and an easy formula you can use to instantly change your thought pattern and diffuse stress.

For more tips, check out 21 Ways to Cope with Stress


Work Cited

 Burns, David D., MD. (1989). The Feeling Good Handbook. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc.


  1. […] to Stress Outlet’s previous post to see which thinking distortions fueled the […]

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