Constructive and Unconstructive Thought
Many people are in the habit of thinking negatively, but this habit can be altered.
Some irrational beliefs tend to lead to anxiety, panic, anger, rage, fury, and depression with less effective problem-solving.
Here are a few examples:
Looking at things in black-or-white categories, with no middle ground.
You see things in only two categories like good or bad, right or wrong, anxious or not anxious without considering that there are in-betweens.
- If I fall short of perfection, I’m a total failure.
- Being anxious means being weak.
Expecting the worst-case scenario to happen.
You assume that the worst will happen without realizing that other, less upsetting outcomes might be more likely.
- I’ll never learn to manage my fears.
- The medical doctor said it is serious. I will die!
- I should not have anxiety.
- The world should be fair and easy.
Global Self/Other Ratings
Limiting beliefs about ourselves and others.
- I’m silly.
- He is dangerous.
Labeling yourself based on mistakes and perceived shortcomings.
- I’m a failure, an idiot, a loser.
Low Frustration Tolerance
- Because I don’t like this, I can’t stand it.
You think something is true just because you feel it is true.
This is a very strong belief that you hold and you’re sure you’re right even if there is no evidence for your belief.
- I know he’s going to break up with me.
Diminishing the Positive
Coming up with reasons why positive events don’t count.
- I did well on the exam, but that was just luck.
Making negative interpretations without actual evidence.
You act like a mind reader.
You assume you know what someone else is thinking even without them telling you.
- I can tell she secretly hates me.
- I just know something terrible is going to happen.
- They think I’m a loser.
Assuming responsibility for things that are outside your control.
You think that you are the reason that something bad happened or someone reacted negatively without taking other more likely explanations into account.
- He didn’t look at me because I’ve upset him in some way.
- It’s my fault my wife got in an accident. I should have warned him to drive carefully in the rain.
Focusing on the negatives while filtering out all the positives.
Noticing the one thing that went wrong, rather than all the things that went right.
- I am not able to do anything.
- He left me and no one loves me.
Generalizing from a single negative experience, expecting it to hold true forever.
- I didn’t get hired for this job and I’ll never get any job.
You have a demand for how things should be like about your behavior or someone else’s behavior and you exaggerate how bad it is if things don’t go the way you expect them to.
- I shouldn’t be this anxious, it’s so silly!
- Because I don’t like feeling anxious, that means it is awful, terrible, and horrible.