Mental Health · Perception · Persona Growth · Random thoughts · Recovery

Thinking Traps

One thing I learned from my therapist that I forget to bring up in flights of flurried emotions is to check if I am falling into a thinking trap. There is a free app she turned me on to which is called Youper. The app walks you through documenting your thoughts, then trying to objectively look at your thoughts, and then it has you go through and identify any thinking traps. The thinking traps and explanations below were all provided by the Youper app:

  • What if loop – repeatedly wondering what if
  • Catastrophic Thinking – assuming that if something terrible were to happen to you that you would be unable to handle it
  • Perfectionism – expecting yourself to perform flawlessly
  • Mind Reading – jumping to conclusions about another person’s thoughts, feelings, or intentions, rather than confirming directly
  • Fortune Telling – Making negative predictions
  • Should Thinking – Focusing on how things should or must be instead of accepting people and the world go by their own rules
  • Negative Memory – dismissing your positive qualities and telling yourself they do not count
  • Labeling – using labels to define yourself and others, rather than accepting people as complex individuals
  • Personalization – taking more responsibility for a negative situation than you should and not acknowledging all of the factors that may have contributed to the situation
  • Blaming – blaming versus looking at solutions
  • Negative Glasses – paying more attention to negatives than positives in a situation
  • All-or-Nothing Thinking – thinking in extremes and seeing people or events in black-and-white instead of recognizing the middle ground
  • Not Accepting – wishing things were different instead of accepting what is
  • Overgeneralization – using ‘always’ or ‘never’ to describe people or situations instead of drawing conclusions based on facts

I’m frequently guilty of many of these. Sometimes during a recovery meeting, my energy and internal emotions can feel like an overactive furnace. My self-centered thinking can hear something and it can touch on something that I’ve latched on to as a part of my identity. It, therefore, causes my ego to flare up and when it flares my face gets hot, I have a hard time making eye contact, and I get uncomfortable and fidgety. Sometimes, depending on the topic and the state of my mental health, it can literally feel like someone has a bunsen burner up under my seat that they are flipping on and off. It is amusing to me once I have awareness of it. In my early 20s in sobriety when this would happen at meetings when it was over, I would leave and feel so defeated, insecure, defective, and broken. Today, I just try to sit from the seat of consciousness as Eckhart Tolle would say, and just watch the way my body reacts. I try to detach from the things my ego wants to get me feeling upset about. I am not always able to do this but I am more apt to recognize it now than before. Primarily because my therapist has helped me become more in tune with the way my body is feeling based on reactions to my emotions and thinking.

Tonight at the recovery meeting the topic was false pride. False Pride per the internet (great citing for you here) is defined as, “An exaggeratedly high or pretentious opinion of oneself, one’s abilities, or one’s circumstance that is not based on real achievement or success. He goes on and on about his literary abilities, but it’s just false pride if you ask me—he’s never even been published! See also: false, pride.” Basically, it is the opposite of humility.

The way that I suffer from this is by sharing my successes sometimes from impure motives. I think some of this is due to craving praise which comes from a place of insecurity about feeling less than. They talk about this in recovery, about feeling greater than or less than but never feeling equal to. Or an egomaniac with an inferiority complex. Sometimes it is purer though in just wanting to feel a connection and wanting to share my life with others. I live alone and spend a lot of time alone and my blog and social media are many times my avenue of sharing myself to feel connnected.

I also think I can still struggle from lacking open-mindedness or stubbornness. It takes me sometimes a long time to come around to a new idea. It can take a lot of pain or repeated pain to open up to a new way forward. This is interesting because I do love to learn but I guess it depends on the space I am in when presented with new information. Everyone loves that feeling of being right. The goal then would be to come to love the feeling of being wrong. To seek to be corrected. Adam Grant talks about that in his book Think Again. Anyway, just processing some thoughts tumbling around my head tonight.

Wishing you all peace in present moments! Night!

Photo by Valentin Salja on Unsplash

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