Jumping to conclusions, mind reading (assuming you know what someone else is thinking) and catastrophizing (jumping to conclusions x10 + disaster) are 3 of the 10 unhelpful thinking styles many of us engage in (usually unbeknownst to us). As a CBT therapist I teach my clients all 10 thinking styles and how to catch and reframe these type of thoughts. These thinking styles can cause issues such as feelings of sadness, anger, anxiety, impulsivity or social conflict. Imagine Clara assumes that Gwen took a piece of candy from her desk (jumping to conclusions). Then Clara thought that Gwen thinks she won’t notice (mind reading) which infuriates her because, well, that’s her salt water taffy 🍬 and she definitely notices. Then Clara worries that everyone from the office will steal from her (catastrophizing).
Instead of engaging in these thinking styles, Clara could ask herself the following questions:
1. What am I thinking? We often have our automatic thought then run with it until it snowballs into an unhelpful narrative. Slow down and clearly identify your thoughts.
2. Do I have evidence that this thought is true? If you don’t have proof then it would be unhelpful to allow this thought to influence our emotions and behaviors. If you have to ask Gwen questions, ask her questions (posts on assertiveness coming soon).
3. Is there another angle to view this situation from? Remember we can reframe our thoughts to that of acceptance, gratitude, compassion or a narrative that better serves us, but first you need to find out if there’s any proof to your thought. Start with the initial thought (Gwen stole the 🍬) and go from there.
It’s also OK if you can’t find evidence for or against your thought. Sometimes no evidence is all we need to help us stop a “snowball narrative” in its tracks. Accept that you do not have proof, BREATHE and create an alternative thought based on your investigation (or no thought at all).
Now I want 🍭 candy. Lol thanks for reading! I invite you to share this if you found it interesting or useful.
-Dr. L 💚