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Distorted Thinking

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I haven't spoken at length yet about my anxiety, so maybe today is a good day to do so. I think focusing on a major lifestyle change - more so than the actual wheat elimination itself - has helped me control some of the anxious thoughts that run through my head on a daily basis in the past few weeks.

My therapist shared this list of "cognitive distortions" a while back. I think we're all guilty of thinking in these ways at times - it's just how you cope with it that keeps you normal... or gets you diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

1. All-or-nothing thinking: You look at things in absolute, black and white categories.
2. Over-generalization: You view a negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat.
3. Mental filter: You dwell on the negatives.
4. Discounting the positives: You insist that your accomplishments or positive qualities don't matter.
5. Jumping to conclusions: You either "mind-read" and assume people are reacting to you when there's no evidence, or you "fortune-tell" and predict that things will turn out badly.
6. Magnification or minimization: You 'catastrophize' things or shrink their importance.
7. Emotional reasoning: You reason how you feel (I feel stupid, so I must be stupid).
8. Should statements: You criticize yourself with "shoulds," "oughts," "musts," and "have to's."
9. Labeling: Instead of saying "I made a mistake," you tell yourself "I'm an idiot."
10. Personalization and blame: You blame yourself for something you weren't responsible for or you blame other people and deny your role in the problem.

A common example of distorted thinking that happens for me is "I'm never going to get past binge eating." Classic over-generalization and fortune telling.


When you suffer from distorted thinking, the goal is really to always look for some other explanation. When I start thinking like this, I immediately offer myself an alternative "coping" thought: "Hey, you may have had a setback here or there, but you're trying new things, getting support, and doing what you can to overcome it. Good job, buddy. Go be awesome."

I found this website ( psychcentral.com/lib/200
) that offers alternative strategies for dealing with cognitive distortions (I believe my "coping" thoughts would fall under #3, the Double Standard Method). They don't reference change in diet here, however - but I think what is being suggested treats the symptoms, not the cause.

My hope is that once I get some consistency under my belt with this wheat-free stuff, the distorted thoughts will become less invasive - that maybe I won't ever jump to the distorted thought, and that what I call "coping" thoughts now will be more automatic.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Great insights! I frequently utilize many of these thought processes and it's good to recognize them. Thanks for the reminder to find healthy coping strategies.
    1889 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/19/2013 12:12:13 PM
    Just being aware is a big step. You are on the right path!
    1889 days ago
  • MJRVIC2000
    Think on the good things of God and it will illuminate your life! God Bless YOU! Vic.
    1889 days ago
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