Distorted Thinking - You Are What You Think

One of the marvels of the mind is that once we learn to do complex tasks, they can become automatic and unconscious.

For example, when you first learn to drive a car, learning to steer, brake, and judge various driving situations requires all of your attention. Eventually, however, driving becomes so automatic that you need pay little conscious attention to the many tasks involved.

Even though you are making decisions every minute, you are unaware of most of them. Instead, you listen to the radio or talk to the passengers, giving driving only a casual thought.

Our thought processes in every other aspect of our daily life are similarly mostly automatic and unconscious, like those involved in driving.

These automatic thinking patterns are developed in childhood. We are mostly unaware of them as we enter adulthood. Thus, everyone uses some faulty reasoning from time to time.

What is Distorted Thinking?

Distorted thinking is any reasoning process that distorts reality. It's a faulty reasoning pattern, in which you misinterpret and, hence, distort the events you are experiencing.

There are 15 common forms of distorted thinking. Identifying them can help you to become aware of when you are using them, which in turn, helps you to challenge them and replace them with more rational and realistic thoughts.

This approach is similar to the phenomenon of buying a new car. When you first buy a new car, you suddenly notice cars of the same make as yours wherever you go. It's as if suddenly hundreds of them are everywhere, when prior to your purchase there were none.

Actually they were always there; you simply didn't notice them before. But because you put so much time, thought and effort into selecting this particular car, your mind now tends to notice this type of car wherever you go.

Being aware of your own distorted thinking can help you change negative self-talk to a positive one and let that silent conversation in your mind steer you toward a happier life.

This is especially important since most of our emotions are triggered by our interpretations of events. Thus learning to reduce or eliminate the amount of distorted thinking you use is a good way to reduce some of these emotions, especially inappropriate anger.

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