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understanding your thoughts

We're all a little bit too committed to our thoughts as being grounded in fact, despite the actual fact, that they are in fact, not. We have so many thoughts a day, it would be impossible to assume that every single one that enters our little mind bank is based in any truth & worthy of living there. Depending on lots of different variables including our childhood experiences, schooling, cultural beliefs, religious beliefs, so on & so forth, we can develop habituations of thinking patterns, & a lot of them are pretty terrible. I've, with the wonderful (& honestly entirely all their) help of Carol Vivyan, identified 12 that are particularly troublesome. I refer to these as your red flags. Why? Because when you see them, it's absolutely time to stop, & turn back.

Tropical Leaves
Image by Federica Giusti

thinking styles

"Red Flags"

Mental Filter

Mind Reading


Compare & Despair

Critical Self

Shoulds & Musts

When we only notice what the filter wants or allows us to notice, & we dismiss anything that doesn't "fit". Like looking through dark blinkers or "gloomy specs" or only catching the negative stuff in our "kitchen strainers" whilst anything more positive or realistic is dismissed.

Assuming we know what others are thinking (usually about us). "They hate me", "They think I'm weird". 

Believing we know what's going to happen in the future.


Emotional Reasoning

Mountains & Molehills


Black & White Thinking


Seeing only the good and positive aspects of others, and comparing ourselves negatively against them.

Putting ourselves down, self criticism, blaming ourselves for events or situations that aren't (totally) our responsibility. 

Thinking or saying "I should" (or shouldn't) and "I must" puts pressure on ourselves, & sets up unrealistic expectations. 

Making evaluations or judgements about events, ourselves, others or the world, rather than describing what we actually see & have evidence for. 

"I feel bad so therefore I must be bad", or "I feel guilty so therefore I must be guilty". Using your feelings as facts.
Which they are not.  

Exaggerating the risk of danger, or the negatives. Minimising the odds of how things are most likely to turn out, or minimising positives. 

Imagining & believing that the worst possible thing will happen. 

Believing that something or someone can only be good or bad, right or wrong, rather than anything in between. Also known as extreme thinking. 

Current situations & events can trigger upsetting memories, leading us to believe that the danger is present, rather than in the past, causing us distress in the moment. 

Image by Federica Giusti
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