Confident Thinking - Part Three

The next three 'warped thinking' approaches are Mind Reading, Fortune Telling, and Catastrophising. 

1. Mind Reading.  Making assumptions about what someone else is thinking, believing a negative outcome e.g. you see a friend in a bar and she doesn't acknowledge you or come to speak with you.  You assume that she doesn't want to speak to you and this damages your relationship with her. Your friend had just discovered that her father was very unwell, was upset and hadn't noticed what else was going on around her.

How to overcome this:

a) Ask yourself what other explanations there could be

b) Check what evidence you have for thinking as you do

c) Check your assumptions by asking people what they're really thinking rather than jumping to conclusions

2. Fortune telling.  'What if' thinking, assuming it will be awful e.g. you have a presentation to give, but you feel hopeless at giving presentations - you'll forget what you have to say, the words will come out wrong, people will be bored and the whole thing will be a disaster.

How to overcome this:

a) Again, check what evidence you have for thinking as you do

b) Ask yourself how thinking in this way is helping you - what thinking would help things to be a success?

c) Imagine the best that could happen and decide what you can do to make it more likely that will happen

3. Catastrophising.  Exaggerating the negative e.g. one week you achieve a deadline late, you forget to send an email to a colleague and someone else gets a promotion over you, although you also finished many of the jobs set, and get compliments for a report you wrote.  You tell everyone you've had the most awful week, get angry and upset and you behave moodily with your partner, work colleagues and your boss, making the situation worse.

How to overcome this:

a) Notice the emotive language you use e.g. 'awful' 'dreadful' 'disaster' 'nightmare' just add to your negative feelings.  Tone them down so they better reflect the situation

b) Check out what you did or what happened that was good and dwell on that rather than allowing yourself to dwell on the negative and blow it out of proportion

c) Take responsibility and do something positive e.g. what can you do now to feel better?

Bonus Tip If you recognise you tend to do any of this 'warped thinking', first spot it and then challenge it: what would be a more positive way of thinking?

In the next article I'll be exploring some more thinking styles which can sabotage self-confidence and giving you pointers for how you can challenge and overcome them.

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Written by Elizabeth Juffs, Accredited Professional Coach BEd MAC CCG

An experienced and Accredited Coach, you’ll find me professional and non-judgemental, approachable yet challenging, with a track record of helping people achieve lasting, positive change. Whether you are a high-powered executive wanting to reduce your work stress and find more balance, a mum wanting to return to work confidently after a career break, or someone who wants to reassess their l… Read more

Written by Elizabeth Juffs, Accredited Professional Coach BEd MAC CCG

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