For Coping

Filtering Hyper focusing on certain details while filtering out other important positive or negative information. Often filtering causes us to shift our attention away from something that causes discomfort. What could be making you feel uncomfortable? Try shifting your focus. What other possibilities are you missing or excluding?
Catastrophizing Expecting the very worst to happen. Involves asking questions like, "What if _____ happens? " Especially common with phobias and panic attacks. (e.g., "What if it happens again while….") Ask yourself realistically, what are the odds? Looking at the likelihood helps you to evaluate whatever is most frightening more realistically.
Black and White Thinking Seeing things only as either/or, black/white, right/wrong, perfect/failure without anything in between. Think in percentages or in middle ground between the two extremes. It may be helpful to think about which part of your efforts were successful, complete, or correct? Things are often not so simplistic.
Heavens Reward Demanding that your efforts will magically be rewarded and becoming angered when it does not happen as expected. If you can’t get what you expected, what can you learn from this experience? What personal qualities do you need to develop to be less vulnerable to this type of situation? Try describing using "cooler" language instead of more dramatic "hot language."
Over Generalization Developing a conclusion or belief about something, someone, or a type of situation based on limited experience or incomplete knowledge. Examples include racial prejudice, beliefs about helplessness and futility, or deciding that a possibility is beyond your reach. Similar to "Always/Never" and "Black and White Thinking." Question your assumptions. Challenge your beliefs. Perhaps you have experienced something or someone many times. Has it been true every single time? How often was this actually true? When have you encountered exceptions to this belief? If this belief was not true, what might you have to face or deal with that might be unpleasant? (e.g., being wrong, fear of failure)
Mind Reading Imagining that you are able to accurately interpret what others think, mean, or intend. Often this is formed on the basis of a hunch, an observation of an ambiguous/unclear non-verbal behavior like a shrug of the shoulders. Ask, don’t assume that what you think is absolutely true. Treat your impression only as an initial guess or hypothesis until you can ask questions and check it out!
Control Fallacy The impulse or belief that you must be able to structure and control things and/or people. Often this stems from a fear or anxiety about the chances of disaster or failure. An element of catastrophizing (see above) may be present. These fears may be just below the surface of our immediate awareness. There is an expectation that we must control to guarantee a desirable outcome. It's impossible to control everything. In reality, we often fool ourselves into believing we are guaranteed safety or success. Lurking there is a belief that everything is up to you. Many factors are beyond our absolute control despite the best-laid plans. It is not reasonable to expect you can protect against things that are not within your control.
Emotional Reasoning I feel therefore I am. Strong feelings become connected with negative thoughts. If I feel stupid, it means that I am stupid. If I feel rejected and unloveable, then it feels certain that I am truly unlovable. A fear of loosing control generates a belief that you are out of control. This reasoning crystallizes into negative beliefs, poor self-esteem, fatalism, and despair. Feelings are changeable and can be terribly wrong and inaccurate. What you feel is often a product of what you are thinking.
Should've, Could've Would've…. A list of unbendable rules and "Thou shalt's" about how you and/or other people should act. Often based on perfect ideals or unwritten rules. What is reasonable? Establish more flexible rules. Expecting perfection or ideal?
"Always" Or "Never?" Similar to Black and White Thinking. At the time that we are doing self-talk and complaining that something always or is never true, we begin to feel as if it is already true. Usually, these are gross exaggerations even if they are often true. Rarely are things always/never true. Think in percentages. Be more precise in your estimates. For example, ask , "Does this always happen or does it just feel that way?
Personalization Involves thoughts where you imagine that what people say or do are because of you in particular or in reaction to you. It seems aimed at you. Another form of this is where you constantly compare yourself to others to determine who is smarter, better looking, or more fashionable. Are other interpretations or explanations possible? What evidence is there to back up your conclusion?
Being Right The need to debate to the death the correctness of your opinion. It is a demand that others hear and agree with our point of view. When we are busy defending our position, we rarely do much listening. Try "active listening" which is to require you to restate what the other person to be saying. Often people find that if their opinion or feelings are truly heard, total agreement is not necessary.
Blaming Holding others or yourself as responsible for pain or anger. Often there is an aspect of "victim-talk" which may be magnified beyond what is reasonable. This is not intended to diminish the responsibility of others but intends to empower each of us as being responsible for our own feelings and behavior. Each of us is responsible for our behavior. Examine what part of the responsibility do you share. Focus on the choices available to you and assert you needs. Avoid slipping into Victim-talk which is often an over statement.
Fallacy of Change You expect that others will change if you just pressure or harass them enough. Your happiness is tied to their complying with your wishes. Our happiness can be independent of the behavior of others. We are responsible for making changes that work for us.

What Are You Saying To Yourself? (Self Talk) Any Automatic Thoughts Or Fantasy Images?




Did You Find Yourself Using "Hot Language?" (e.g. "I’ll just die if….") If so, What did you say? How might you rephrase it using "cool" language?


Circle Which "Thought Mistakes" That Might Apply:

Filtering Mind Reading Being Right
Heaven's Reward Catastrophizing Overgeneralization
Black & White Personalization Should've, Could've, Would've
Blaming Always/Never Control Fallacy
Fallacy of Change Emotional Reasoning  


Countering Negative Self-Talk



Thought Mistake Types


Restate Without "Thought Mistake" Or Hot Language

Example: "What if I have a panic attack? I will loose control. I should be able to control this!" Catastrophizing

Should've, Could've, Would've

Example: "If I do have panicky feelings, I will feel uncomfortable and scared. These feelings don't last long. When the feelings pass, I will feel ok again. I am taking important steps to overcoming this and developing new skills."






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