Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is all about how we think, how we feel, and how we act. One of the most important tasks in CBT is recognizing and understanding your established thinking patterns. The more we hear ourself thinking, the easier it is to notice any unhelpful or negative thoughts that may be getting in our way. All of us have a string of thoughts going on in our head narrating our lives. Sometimes we don’t have the healthiest or most rational perspective and experience common thinking errors. CBT helps us recognize these errors and work to correct them and move towards taking better care of ourselves.
All Or None is a common thinking error that affects your self care
One of the most common thinking errors is what is called All or None thinking. It entails thinking that everything is great or everything is awful. It’s either all good or no good. The best thing in the world, or the end of the world. Many of us have experienced this type of thinking at least once in life. It’s pretty common, but sometimes this type of thinking can be debilitating. It can keep us from practicing good self care.
If we don’t think we can do it all, we may end up giving up and doing none. If we don’t see the value in the middle ground, the value in the effort itself, we won’t understand the need to push ourselves to take care of ourselves. In reality, any effort, large, small, tiny, or medium, matters. We might just have to combat this common thinking error and remind ourselves of this from time to time.
Beware of the self care shoulds
Oh the shoulds. Another common thinking error. Should is not a bad word, but its not always a good word. When we get ourselves caught up in what we think we should be doing, or what we think we should’ve done, it takes us out of the present moment and makes it very difficult to recognize how we are taking care of ourselves. Focusing on the shoulds of life always gives us something to compare to. No matter what we do, we end up thinking that we should be doing something else. So even if we are actually taking steps to practice self care, we won’t give ourselves the credit because we may feel like we are being selfish or should be doing something else. Its a dirty never ending cycle.
Catastrophizing our mistakes is a very common thinking error
Of all of the common thinking errors, catastophizing our mistakes tends to take the cake. We can easily get so caught up in what we have done wrong that we fear taking steps do better. Instead of learning something useful from our mistakes, we end up obsessing about it until we feel defeated and debilitated. Catastrophizing can make us feel stuck. And this often leads to giving up and tapping out. When we can work to realistically evaluate ourselves and our experiences it can help us find more power in coming back and empower us to push forward.
Putting It All Together
All or None thinking, Focusing on the Shoulds, and Catastrophizing our mistakes are three common thinking errors that get in the way of practicing good self care. If we can start to notice these errors in thinking, we can work to change our thoughts. And, as CBT says, change your thoughts, change your feelings, change your actions. Change your world.
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