Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

10 Forms of Twisted Thinking

Both David Burns (bestselling author of “Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy” and Abraham Low (founder of Recovery, Inc.) teach techniques to analyze negative thoughts (or identify distorted thinking) so to be able to disarm and defeat them.Since Low’s language is a bit out-dated, I list below Burns’ “Ten Forms of Twisted Thinking,” (adapted from “Feeling Good”) categories of dangerous ruminations, that when identified and brought into your consciousness, lose their power over you.1. All-or-nothing thinking (a.k.a. my brain and the Vatican’s): You look at things in absolute, black-and-white categories.2. Overgeneralization (also a favorite): You view a negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat.3. Mental filter: You dwell on the negatives and ignore the positives.4. Discounting the positives: You insist that your accomplishments or positive qualities don’t count (my college diploma was stroke of luck…really, it was).5. Jumping to conclusions (loves alcoholic families): You conclude things are bad without any definite evidence. These include mind-reading (assuming that people are reacting negatively to you) and fortune-telling (predicting that things will turn out badly).6. Magnification or minimization: You blow things way out of proportion or you shrink their importance.7. Emotional reasoning: You reason from how you feel: “I feel like an idiot, so I must be one.”8. “Should” statements (every other word for me): You criticize yourself or other people with “shoulds,” “shouldn’ts,” “musts,” “oughts,” and “have-tos.”9. Labeling: Instead of saying, “I made a mistake,” you tell yourself, “I’m a jerk” or “I’m a loser.”10. Blame: You blame yourself for something you weren’t entirely responsible for, or you blame other people and overlook ways that you contributed to a problem.Check out five of my favorites here!

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  • Barbara Bowman

    No wonder I struggle. I practice them all abundantly (unfortunately). But I’m still a work in progress.

  • Elizabeth

    Oh man. I do every single one of these.
    Currently, my therapist is working with me on what he has identified as two of my MAJOR distorted thinking patters… all or nothing/ black and white thinking and “Should/ Should not” statements. I’ve got all the others but those are the two that are inhibiting me the most these days.
    My therpaist makes me laugh when he talks like I think because I can see it so clearly when he imitates me (in a good way) but I have such a hard time seeing these forms of twisted thinking within myself!

  • skylark

    Excellent post! Our thinking patterns are so important to good mental say nothing about how our day goes. Not only our own thinking patterns, but also those of the people around us!! They also can drag us down. I am going to get this book…but until that happens will post these ten forms of twisted thinking on my desktop to help me to stay out of “trouble” with my very bad and ingrained habit of negative thinking! Thanks Theresa for alerting us to this book.

  • Deb Su Lan

    I love this post. You really helped me a lot! Now I want to get that book, no matter how big it is. :) Thank you.

  • All About Depression

    This is a very important post and quite frankly the recipe to success in life. There is no doubt that how you talk to yourself and about yourself reflects a belief of yourself. This in turn causes you to act and expect exactly what you believe in yourself. It is weird how it works that way. Sometimes life can overload us and the belief we have in ourselves for some people can take a life of its own in a negative way leading to depression.
    Actually the main characteristic of depression is just that. You can feel hopeless and that there is no way out of your situation. This is why if you have depression it is important to seek out some psychotherapy to help change your thinking pattern. For more info see How To Treat Depression. The medications will only take care of the symptoms of depression and surely will not cure it.
    Aside from depression practicing and being aware of your self talk in a positive form will surely enhance anyone’s life for the better, no matter what may be going on in ones life at the moment. Taking on a fake it til you make it will over time become second nature and your belief of yourself will begin to change.

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