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Cognitive Errors


TRIBE Member
Some interesting things to think about...when you're thinking.

Cognitive Errors

1. All-or-Nothing Thinking:
You see things as black or white, there is no grey or middle ground. Things are wonderful or awful, and if what you do isn't perfect, it is a total failure.

2. Overgeneralization:
You see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat. If you have a misunderstanding with a person important
to you, you think that she/he doesn't understand you or care about you. She/he never has, she/he never will, no one has ever really understood or cared, and no one ever will or ever can. You think you will always be isolated and misunderstood.

3. Mental Filter:
You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on that until everything is affected by that negative. If you make a nice dinner but overcook the vegetable, then you think only of the ruined vegetable until you see the entire dinner as a disaster.

4. Disqualifying the Positive:
You "don't count" positive experiences for some reason or another and maintain a negative belief that is really not based on your everyday experience. You will not allow yourself to enjoy good feelings for instance, because you will tell yourself that you know there must be bad feelings to follow, thus you will arrange to feel bad about feeling good.

5. Jumping to Conclusions:
You see things as negative whether you have any facts or not.
a. Mind Reading: You decide someone is responding negatively to you without checking it out. If an acquaintance meets you on the street and doesn't say hello, you assume she/he doesn't like you and doesn't want to speak to you. You don't ask to see if they were having other things on their mind and didn't notice you, or if something else was going on.
b. Fortune Teller Error: You expect things to turn out badly and don't allow for the possibility they may be neutral or positive. You anticipate you will not have any fun at a party and in fact become so convinced of that, that you don't even go.

6. Magnification and/or Minimization:
You make an extra big deal about your own goof-ups and and extra big deal about other people's success. On the other hand you say that other people's goofs don't really matter and that your successes and good qualities are really small and don't count for much.

7. Emotional Reasoning:
You assume that your negative feelings result from the fact that things are negative. If you feel bad, then that means the world or situation is bad. You don't look around to see if it's actually true.

8. Should Statements:
You try to push yourself and improve yourself with shoulds and shouldn'ts, musts and oughts. I should do more. I ought to
have known better. I must have a good reason for saying no. I shouldn't wish I didn't have any kids. The emotional consequence is guilt, anger, and resentment. The phrase "I should" is often used when "I wish" or "I would like' is more accurate.

9. Labelling and Mislabelling:
This is super-duper overgeneralizing. When you make a mistake you say "I'm a dope." When you don't get something you wanted
you say "I'm a loser." When someone's behaviour rubs you wrong, you say "He's a louse." You refer to an event in emotionally loaded language. When labels are used, many characteristics that don't apply to the person are implied or included.

10. Personalization:
You see yourself as the cause of some external unfortunate or unpleasant event which you were not actually responsible for. An incest victim for example, refuses to talk with her parents about the pain of the experience because she anticipates they will then feel hurt and that will be her fault.

Adapted from Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David D. Burns, MD.


TRIBE Member
Originally posted by sugar
Adapted from Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David D. Burns, MD.
I've read chunks of this book..although it's designed for people with depression and related problems, I really think ideas like these could help everyone.

Everyone has instances where we let our brains improperly interpret events..having these ideas in the back of your head throughout the day can really go a long way in improving the way you handle stress, deal with people, etc.


TRIBE Member
Hahaha - no, I'm long done with school, thank goodness!

And Adam, yes, becoming aware of these types of erroneous modes of thinking is beneficial for everyone. That's why I posted it :) Once you become aware of your thinking, you can work to change it.


TRIBE Member
His related book, "The Feeling Good Handbook", was a major help in learning to deal with my depression.
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TRIBE Member
Originally posted by sugar
And Adam, yes, becoming aware of these types of erroneous modes of thinking is beneficial for everyone. That's why I posted it :) Once you become aware of your thinking, you can work to change it.
I actually read this book and a book called the Art Of Happiness by the Dalai Lama right after each other. I was amazed at the parallels throughout. Although it's obviously approaching the idea from very different angles, the essence of both were the same.


TRIBE Member
...ooooh I think Ive seen this guys books - he's all smiley-I can help you- on the cover? LOL actually that describes a lot of books...


Well-Known TRIBEr
That list was given to me by my shrink.

I like telling people at work I have to leave early to go to my shrink, since it makes them laugh. Then I get angry and tell them to fuck off, and they are the reason I have to go see him, since I think that people are laughing at me.
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TRIBE Member
I also really like how the only major chord in the miserere mei is the very last one.

Coincidentally in my playlist, Brisk & Trixxy's Eyeopener is the next track.