Stressed? Anxious? OK Breathe…

Tasmanian IT News   •   June 2, 2018

A great resource from the Reach Out USA website that has completely changed my approach to situations from personal life to business delivery. Hopefully you’ll find it as useful as I have.
Source :

Here are 10 common thinking errors and ways to challenge them.

1. Black-and-white thinking

When you’re thinking in black-and-white, you see everything in terms of being either good or bad with nothing in between. For example: either you’re great, or you’re a loser; If you don’t look like a model, you must be ugly; if you do something wrong, then you are completely bad.

The challenge:
  • Look for shades of grey
  • It’s important to avoid thinking about things in terms of extremes. Most things aren’t black-and-white, but somewhere in-between. Just because something isn’t completely perfect doesn’t mean that it’s a total disaster.
Ask yourself:
  • Is it really so bad, or am I seeing things in black-and-white?
  • How else can I think about the situation?
  • Am I taking an extreme view?

2. Unreal ideal

Another common thinking error is to make unfair comparisons between certain individuals and yourself. When you do this, you compare yourself with people who have a specific advantage in some area. Making unfair comparisons can leave you feeling inadequate.

The challenge:
  • Stop making unfair comparisons
Ask yourself:
  • Am I comparing myself with people who have a particular advantage?
  • Am I making fair comparisons?

3. Filtering

When you filter, first you hone in on the negative aspects of your situation. Then you ignore or dismiss all the positive aspects.

The challenge:
  • Consider the whole picture
Ask yourself:
  • Am I looking at the negatives, while ignoring the positives?
  • Is there a more balanced way to look at this situation?

4. Personalizing: The self-blame game

When you personalize, you blame yourself for anything that goes wrong, even when it’s not your fault or responsibility.

The challenge:
  • Find all the causes
Ask yourself:
  • Am I really to blame? Is this all about me?
  • What other explanations might there be for this situation?

5. Mind-reading

We often think we know what other people are thinking. We assume that others are focused on our faults and weaknesses—but this is often wrong! Remember: your worst critic is probably you.

The challenge:
  • Don’t assume you know what others are thinking
Ask yourself:
  • What is the evidence? How do I know what other people are thinking?
  • Just because I assume something, does that mean I’m right?

6. Exaggerating

When things go wrong, you might have a tendency to exaggerate the consequences and imagine that the results will be disastrous.

The challenge:
  • Put it in perspective
Ask yourself:
  • What’s the worst that can happen?
  • What’s the best that can happen?
  • What’s most likely to happen?
  • Will this matter in five years?
  • Is there anything good about the situation?
  • Is there any way to fix the situation?

7. Over-generalizing

Over-generalizing is a lot like exaggeration. When you over-generalize, you exaggerate the frequency of negative things in your life, like mistakes, disapproval and failures. Typically you might think to yourself: I always make mistakes, or everyone thinks I’m stupid.

The challenge:
  • Be specific
Ask yourself:
  • Am I over-generalizing?
  • What are the facts? What are my interpretations?

8. Fact versus feeling

Sometimes you might confuse your thoughts or feelings with reality. You might assume that your perceptions are correct.

The challenge:
  • Stick to the facts
Ask yourself:
  • Am I confusing my feelings with the facts? Just because I’m feeling this way, does that mean my perceptions are correct?
  • Am I thinking this way just because I’m feeling bad right now?

9. Labeling

When you use label, you might call yourself or other people names. Instead of being specific—for example, saying “That was a silly thing to do” —you make negative generalizations about yourself or other people by saying things like “I’m ugly,” or “she’s an idiot.”

The challenge:
  • Judge the situation, not the person
Ask yourself:
  • What are the facts and what are my interpretations?
  • Just because there is something that I’m not happy with, does that mean that it’s totally no good?

10. ‘Can’t Stand-itis’

Some people get intolerant when they have to do things they don’t enjoy. They tell themselves that they “can’t stand” certain things instead of acknowledging that they don’t enjoy them. As a result, they easily become frustrated and angry.

The challenge:
  • Accept that frustration is a normal part of life
Ask yourself:
  • I don’t enjoy it, but I can stand it.
  • This is a hassle, and that’s O.K.! Life is full of hassles.