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Stress Management for Health Course

Stressful Thinking Errors Sheet


              Stressful Thinking Errors


        Black and White Thinking       (All or Nothing Thinking)


We see ourselves, others, and events as all right or all wrong, all good or all bad, we are either totally successful or a total failure, no halfway measure.




We make conclusions based on single events, we use one negative experience to predict all other outcomes.




We presume the worst will always happen, we won’t be able to cope and it will be awful.


        Mental Filter


We see the negatives and not the positives of a situation, we discount compliments and focus only on bad remarks or reviews.


        Magnifying or Minimising   (Binocular Vision)


We blow things out of proportion making mountains out of molehills, we minimise our strengths and maximise our weaknesses.


        Personalisation and Blame


When something goes wrong we totally blame ourselves or we may totally blame other people for an event.


        Labelling and Mislabelling


We call ourselves or others by names, not based on facts, but on one or two negative incidents.


        Jumping to Conclusions             (a. Mind Reading)


We make negative interpretations about what others are thinking without knowing all the facts and without checking things out.


        Jumping to Conclusions             (b. Fortune Telling)


We think we know how events will turn out without evidence to support our views.


        Emotional Reasoning


We let feelings guide our interpretations, reasoning from our emotions instead of looking for facts.


        Discounting the Positive


We discount positive things about ourselves and others.


        Hindsight Thinking


We look back and wish we had done things differently – “If I knew then what I know now.”


        What ifs


We often ask “what if” something happens, fearing the worst outcome which may stop us from looking at practical solutions. 


        Egocentric Thinking


We want to persuade others to think and believe the same way we do. (This is about us influencing other’s thoughts)


        Being Right


We think we are correct in our thinking, we discount other evidence and the ideas of others. (This is about our thoughts)


        Control Error (a and b)


a.       We see ourselves as helpless and externally controlled  OR

b.      We feel responsible for everything, carrying the world on our shoulders.


        Change Error


We think we have to change others to achieve our happiness. We may blame, demand, withhold and trade to achieve this.


        Fairness Error


We judge peoples actions by what we think is fair or not fair, feeling resentful when they don’t act in a way we think is fair.


        Heaven’s Reward Thinking


Our decisions and actions are based around others needs, often ignoring our own needs, imagining that by doing the right thing we will gain our reward someday.


        Unrealistic Comparisons


We compare ourselves to other people, work colleagues etc, and view them as being more successful, better at coping, happier, better at handling life than we are.


Click here to be taken to Stressful Core Beliefs Sheet

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