Cognitive Distortions - Thoughts & Behaviours that Keep Us Stuck

Updated: 2 days ago

Our lives play out on the outside as a direct reflection of what is going on inside of us. The thoughts we think aren't just random. We have "habits of thinking" that lead us down different paths. Some thoughts can take us to rosy, happy possibilities and others down rabbit holes.

It is really useful to start paying attention to the thoughts and patterns of thinking and feeling that you have. When you are unaware of the habits, you are at the mercy of them. There are certain laws in the Universe, and one of them is the law of cause and effect. Quite simply, A happens and B results. Often, we go through life constantly dealing with the results: in reaction mode. We are totally unaware of what we are doing, and we know that the effect keeps happening "to us". Life keeps happening "to us."

When you decide to become mindful, you will notice there are things that led to the circumstances you continually find yourself in, or the people you continue to attract. You can stop being the reactor, and start being the co-creator of your life.

First, take a second, slow down, way down. Stop. Take a breath. Let yourself relax. One of the things I help my one:one life coaching clients learn is to become the observer of your thoughts, don't participate in the whirring, circular loops or follow the storylines your mind is weaving. Just stop, breathe, and watch the thoughts that are arising in your mind. Just watch.

See if any of these distortions are occurring:

  • all or nothing thinking: "I am going to be late, so I might as well not show up at all."

  • overgeneralization: "No one ever listens to me."

  • blaming others/self: "if you hadn't been late, I would have passed my test.", "if I hadn't snapped at her, she would love me."

  • emotional reasoning: "I feel like a bad person, so I must be one."

  • mental filter: "yes, everything was perfect hair didn't turn out just right, and it ruined everything."

  • minimizing: "anyone could do what I do, and they could do it better."

  • catastrophizing: "I made an error on that report, now I will never get a promotion."

  • "Shoulding": "You should just know how I feel if you loved me.", "I should want to help if I was a nice person."

  • mind-reading: "I see that look on your face, and I know it means you hate me."

All or any of these thoughts can create a black cloud, a heaviness, a dis-comfort that you carry with you. Not one of them might be true. They are automatic, assumptions, and habits of thinking that you have learned and each results in a FEELING and then a typical BEHAVIOUR.

When you think to yourself, "I will never get that promotion" or "no one ever listens to me" it sets up a story in your mind and an emotion that you attach to. You have written a script for yourself, and your mind will try its darndest to play it out. You will begin to match the vibration of those thoughts and feelings. All the energy in and around you will be in alignment with them. You have set your frequency to vibrate at the level of the distortion.

Just like when we try and tune in a song on the radio, we have to set to the right frequency. If I want to hear country music, I tune into 95.9 on the dial. If I tune into 98.1, I'm going to get Rock music. If your frequency is one of "never" and "no one", lack, darkness, anxiety, distrust, worry and fear is what you will tune into. That is what you will continue to attract. You might be trying to tune into to love and harmony, but you are vibrating at the wrong frequency.

Your energy goes where you focus. All of those distortions focus you in negative places.

When you become awake and aware of what is happening in your mind, then you can take responsibility to make a shift, and change your thoughts. Identify the thought habits that are cropping up for you and the feeling that is associated with them. Stay present to the typical behaviour that you exhibit.

Now, let's do it differently. Instead, of following along with the distortion, challenge the practice with REFRAMING, CRITICAL QUESTIONS, MINDFULNESS PRACTICE, & AFFIRMATIONS.

I'd love to help you develop simple, healthy techniques to become the CAUSE of your life.

Contact me to talk about working together at

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