Anxiety & Mood | Healthy Routines

More About Thought Traps And What To Do About Them

Last week’s post introduced the anxiety inducing pattern cognitive distortions, also called thought traps. These are ways of thinking that seem true but are in fact not reasonable, realistic or relevant to the situation.
Noticing when we are using thought traps and countering them is an important part of traditional CBT-exercises that can reduce symptoms of anxiety.
As noted in earlier posts, thoughts often feel true due to the nature of our brain, see the post from last week for a further explanation.
But thoughts always have to be scrutinized, especially when they affect our well-being negatively.
A first helpful step is to understand its often adaptive origin:
– See the thought as a part of an adaptive pattern developed in earlier stages in life with the purpose to handle the environment then, but a pattern that now has become maladaptive
– Realize the thought as being taught as part of a line of thinking from important relatives
– Acknowledge the thought as a not so mature defence mechanism used to protect ourselves from unpleasant experiences, anxiety and ‘forbidden’ complex emotions
Challenging and replacing cognitive distortions/thought traps can be done in many ways:
– Learn to externalizing it and talk back when realizing it comes from earlier experiences and hence is no longer helpful, see earlier posts under Self-esteem at
– Learn to reject the thought
– Scrutinize the logic and proof behind the thought to evaluate its relevance and accuracy
– Answer back
More about typical thought traps/distortions and how to address them in upcoming posts.
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