Become Aware of Your Cognitive Distortions Through Mindfulness

Cognitive Distortions | Lakehouse Recovery Center

Thinking Patterns Make Life Harder

There are many patterns of thought that can sabotage our success or darken the lenses through which we see the world. If you’re in recovery from addiction, you might have noticed thought patterns that tend to make life harder than it actually is.

If you’d like to change your unhealthy patterns of thought, it’s important to first become aware of them. It’s important to grow your ability to be aware of yourself in each moment. Not everyone has this skill naturally. It might take practice.

However, one way to become more aware of yourself is through mindfulness. This is the practice of staying aware of your inner and outer experiences as they are happening in the moment.  When a person is mindful they are more of an observer of life versus a participant. In fact, mindfulness requires both observation and participation in the moment by moment experience.

You might be able to imagine how being mindful can lead to developing more and more awareness of your thoughts and feelings. And when you recognize certain thoughts that are unhealthy or negative, you then have the power to change those thoughts. There are some patterns of thought that commonly experienced among some recovering addicts.

Patterns Of Some Recovering Addicts

Overgeneralization: This is the tendency to draw broad conclusions based on very limited data.

Selective Abstraction: This is a thinking pattern in which someone attaches a negative bias to one piece of information and excluding other pieces of information that indicate the opposite.

Magnification/Minimization: This is the tendency to exaggerate the negative and minimize the positive.

Disqualifying the Positive: This is the pattern of rejecting positive experiences by insisting that they “don’t matter.” You continue to believe in your negative thoughts and disregard what’s positive in your life.

Mind Reading: This pattern of thought is the tendency to conclude that someone is reacting negatively toward you without bothering to determine if your assumption is correct.

Fortune Telling: This is the tendency to believe that things are not going to turn out well and continue to feel convinced that your prediction is an already-established fact.

Emotional Reasoning: This is the tendency to assume that your negative emotions reflect the way things are. For instance, if you feel it, then it must be true.

Should Statements: This is the pattern to continue to place should’s and shouln’t’s on yourself before expecting anything different. The emotional consequence, however, of not meeting your own demands is guilt.

Personalization: You tend to see yourself as the cause of some negative external event for you are not responsible in the least.

If you notice that you have any of the above thought patterns, begin to use mindfulness as a means to change these patterns. When you are mindful of your thoughts you’ll gain more awareness of what you’re thinking, and as mentioned above, you’ll then have the power to change them.

And by changing your thought patterns you can positively affect the way you see the yourself, others, and the world.



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