• Tina

Unhelpful thinking styles

I have previously mentioned unhelpful thinking styles, but only briefly. Some people have contacted me and asked me to expand on the different types of 'thinking styles' and to give some techniques which may help them to manage their thoughts more effectively, thereby stopping them from being 'emotionally' highjacked.

We will often hear people talking about the way they 'think' and how this can impact upon how they respond to situations. There is lots of truth in this and as a therapist I try to help clients to reflect on the way they think and the the impact upon them.

In counselling we sometimes use a really simple flow chart to show how the same situation can be 'thought' about in different ways which in turn leads us to have certain behaviours, emotions and somatic responses (which just means butterflies, wobble legs etc). Lets give an example:

I am out with Cathy and I see a friend walking down the road and they do not acknowledge me,

I think... "Oh no, was that to do with something I said to her last week, what did I say? Did I upset her?'

This thought may lead me to feel worried, upset, anxious, I may feel butterflies in my stomach and I could dart into a doorway whilst I try to make sense of what happened.

I have automatically adopted an unhelpful thinking style.

Cathy is walking next to me, she see the same situation with our friend but thinks 'Oh look she looks in a hurry she can't have seen me, I must give her a call next week'. Cathy's thoughts are more healthy than mine and the impact upon her is likely to be minimal.

The way we think impacts upon how we perceive and react to situations. The way we think often falls into one of these 12 'unhelpful thinking styles'. These styles may have come from our past experiences, our childhood or the way others react/ed to us. In addressing and tacking these thinking styles you can develop a more reasonable and less harmful response.

The first unhelpful thinking style I am going to focus on is mental filter.

A mental filter is when we only notice what the filter allows us or wants us to notice and we dismiss anything which does not fit. It is like looking through dark glasses or only catching the 'negative stuff' in our brain whilst we dismiss the more positive or realistic stuff.

Tomorrow I will look at the mental filter category in more depth to explore why it is 'unhelpful' and what we can do about it.

Until tomorrow see you you can spot mental filter thinking going on, if you can take a note of it and see how you might look at it differently after reading tomorrow's blog.

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