Do you practice cognitive distortions?
The chances are that you do! most people do at some point in their lives but often people struggling with depression or anxiety practice cognitive distortions more than most.
What even are cognitive distortions??
A cognitive distortion is a thought that has a negative impact on your life and is often not true. There are a HUGE number of ways that we do this so I'm going to just focus on the most common distortions that I see regularly in treatment sessions.
But what if...?
Ah!! What if...?
Absolutely the most commonly used cognitive distortion that I have ever come across. My clients who want to learn to control their anxiety or depression almost ALWAYS tell me that this is something they do.
Here's how it goes:
Client: I get anxious about social situations, even with people I know.
Me: OK, what is going through your mind when you think about these situations?
Client: I'm thinking, What if they don't want me there? What if they think I'm too awkward? What if I get there and no one else has arrived? What if I say something stupid and embarrass myself?
It's actually a really common thought process and one that people practice constantly. This thinking can be challenged and changed luckily for my clients.
Should??? who says so???
Another cognitive distortion that my anxiety and depression clients bring to me regularly. The thought process where you tell yourself that you should be doing certain things or being certain things.
Here's an example:
Client: My depression gets worse when I don't exercise, I then put on weight and it makes me feel even worse. I know I should go to the gym and I tell myself I should go to the gym but I cant seem to make myself.
Me: Why should you go to the gym?
Client: Because it helps me stay healthy and I know I'm supposed to.
Me: What are the benefits for you personally if you go to the gym?
Client: I feel better after, like I've achieved something. It makes me feel stronger but also more tired so I sleep better.
Me: So do you want to go to the gym?
Client: (laughs) well yeah, I do.
Me: OK, say it
Client: (laughs again) I want to go to the gym
Me: excellent, which feels better? I should go to the gym or I want to go to the gym...
These are just a couple of examples of how our thinking can have a negative impact on our lives. The more we practice these distortions, the better we get at thinking them!!
You can find out which negative thoughts you do most often by downloading your FREE negative thoughts worksheet
The way we think has a huge impact on our mental health. If you are looking to overcome your anxiety or just improve your mental health then first you need to know what thoughts are making things worse.
This download gives you a list of the most common ways we think negatively. All you need to do is see which ones you do most.
Also, keep an eye on your emails! I will be sending you a really useful video that goes with this exercise.