Pitfall in Recovery: Cognitive Distortions
Written by Lorraine on September 12, 2013
In recovery, you have to make changes in your life to be successful. You adopt a structured routine in your life, start exercising and eating healthier and talk about your feelings instead of keeping it all in. But one of the biggest changes you must make is the way you think and this is a hard thing to do. There are traps that you set for yourself without even realizing it! Knowing how to spot these mental traps can make a difference in your addiction recovery.
5 Common Cognitive Distortions
Cognitive distortions or inaccurate thoughts cause trouble in your life and your recovery. Identifying these faulty thoughts is the first step toward changing the way you think.
- Black and white thinking: This type of thinking is common in addiction and a danger for your recovery. Realize that you will make mistakes and you won’t be perfect at everything. Sometimes situations and outcomes won’t turn out like you expected. That’s OK. Not all is lost.
- Jumping to conclusions: This type of thinking occurs when you have gone ahead and come up with a conclusion before all the facts have been revealed or letting other people react. This shows that you are not listening or are not being patient for others to respond.
- Catastrophizing: Expecting the worst case scenario to happen breeds anxiety and negativity, which causes problems in your recovery.
- Overgeneralization: This is when you come to a general conclusion based on one situation or experience. If you overgeneralize, you run the risk of things not going as you thought, which can cause anxiety and negative thoughts.
- Filtering: This occurs when you focus only on the negative aspects in a situation and filter out all the positive aspects. Focusing on only the negative aspects colors your whole frame of mind and causes more anxiety.
Getting rid of these cognitive distortions takes time and practice. Over time, you won’t fall into these mental traps and rational thoughts will happen automatically.