In previous blogs I touched upon different cognitive distortions which present themselves in our daily lives. Our brains are prone to make connections which may become quick shortcuts in our day to day thinking. Our brain makes connections between thoughts, feelings, actions and consequences. If one situation played out in a specific manner in the past one may make the connection engage or avoid specific behaviours again based on failures or perhaps successes. The brain selectively chooses to only see half of the facts in order to avoid or engage in a specific behaviour.
To illustrate this – think about a manager who looks at their employee with a particular look. The employee may think that they did something wrong in order for them to receive that look, and may feel anxious all day as one may think that they are not keeping up with the standards of the manager.
Some of us may resonate with this. What is actually happening in this situation is in fact a cognitive distortion which is called fortune telling. In which, an individual makes a conclusion or prediction based on very little evidence and considers this as a straight fact.
Rather than looking at only some of the facts, it would have been beneficial to take a step back from one’s initial thoughts in order to examine it more thoroughly.
Evidence that suggests otherwise:
- Perhaps something else bothered the manager such as their; CEO, partner, children, or parents amongst others.
- Perhaps they may have experienced something else which may have irritated them.
Therefore, taking a step back perhaps even writing what thoughts and feelings are emerging as a situation occurs on a piece of paper may help an individual label their thoughts and feelings in order to help perceive the situation from an objective point of view. Taking a look at all the evidence makes an individual ensure that a more realistic evaluation of a situation can take place.
Beck, J. (2011). Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Basics and Beyond. Guilford Press:UK