‘ Mind is a beautiful servant, a dangerous master’. The uncontrolled mind leads man to suffer from many sorts of behavioral disorders, technically termed as cognitive disorders or distortions.
Cognitive distortions are the irrational thinking pattern of a mind, where the mind convinces of something which is not true. It is the exaggerated or extreme thought process, leading to negative emotions. This can also be termed as cognitive deficits i.e. lack of proper and healthy thinking. Therefore leads to distortions, which is active dysfunctional thinking. There are many distortions to list out. Studies indicate 15 commonly found disorders in man.
A person having such distortions filters out any positive side associated with anything rather focuses more on any loops-holes that have been left out. Develops an inability to focus on positive of anything, and falls in the habit of looking at everything as negative, and therefore does mental filtering.
It is also called black and white thinking. A person with such thinking typically thinks in the matter of either/or i.e, something has to be bad if it is not good. He fails to see any other possibility in the middle and concentrates only in the poles of good or bad. Judgemental of either bad or good, nothing in the way out the middle.
In case of overgeneralization, a person generalizes any event or situations and therefore comes to conclusions for any rest of any similar situations. Such person generally dwells upon words like ‘always’, ‘never’, ‘every’ or ‘all’.
The person with such thinking pattern forms the habit of jumping to conclusions, without having any proper knowledge of the factual evidence.
Such thinking pattern forms a habit of anticipating bad happening. Such person exaggerates, magnifies or blows out any unpleasant happenings.
In such thought process, one falls in the habit of blaming oneself for everything and anything wrong. Such person generally has low self-confidence and low self-esteem.
Whenever such a person feels controlled by external factors, he feels completely caged and helpless. Instead of finding the way out, such person feels the victim of the situation.
Fallacy of fairness
Such thinking pattern considers that everything has to be fair, life has to be fair, or else there is nothing left behind to move positively.
A person always with the habit of putting blame on external factors be it a person, or situation, and finds an easy way out of responsibility.
The person with such thinking pattern always measures his or others’ activities in words like should, ought, or must. For example, ‘I should have done this’, ‘he should have done that’. Such measuring statements leads to anger when he or the other person doesn’t meet the mark.
A person with such distortions thinks and considers his feelings to be real or has to be real for all. For example, if he feels something good or bad for himself, it has to be the same for others too.
The fallacy of change:
Such person thinks that other people must change their attitudes and behavior, and more or less be like them, in order for him to be happy. Always with a nearly selfish nature, they are inflexible in changing nature.
This is the extreme case of overgeneralization. In this case, a person labels any situation or any person, based on any single experience, and thereby forms a permanent opinion on it.
Always being right:
Such person gives no space for others’ opinions or views. With the notion of ‘I only correct’, such persons always considers himself to be the authority of knowledge.
Heaven’s Reward Fallacy:
In this thought pattern, a person always carries a huge expectation of reward for anything he has done, no matter big or small. A person even goes an extra mile in the hope of receiving recognition and easily gets into negativity if he is not given due acknowledgment.
Distortions are hard to recognize, both within oneself, even in others, because it easily becomes part of habitual nature. It becomes distortions, when the very nature, reciprocates back negatively to human mind.. This distortion in long-term lead to serious outcomes like depression, anxiety attacks, even suicide in more extreme cases.
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy ( MBCT), is newly developed technique, as a treatment of cognitive disorders. It is the combination of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), with meditation technique. It was developed by Dr.Jon Kabat-Zinn, as a psychological tool, in his stress reduction clinic at University of Massachusetts Medical school.MBCT teaches to be aware of the thoughts running in mind, and how to cope with it by justifying them, along with the following benefits:
- Develops the ability to cope up more with both short term and long term stress situations.
- Calms down the inner turmoil of mind.
- Learns to manage and regulate the recognized thoughts.
- Improves the focus of mind, shifting the thinking towards positive and hopefulness.
- Boost up the confidence level, and thereby more self-acceptance.
With the mind flipping sides of positivity and negativity, a man without a trained mind easily falls prey to various distortions. Our mind needs attention and pampering from time to time. Feed it with good thoughts and the regular dose of positive energy and chase away the type distortion (if )you can relate to.