Anxiety & Mood

Questioning Definitions To Challenge Anxiety Provoking Thoughts

There are many anxiety inducing patterns often called cognitive distortions or 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 also can reduce symptoms of anxiety.

A cognitive distortion is active in our minds when we experience an upsetting event and we think about it in these ways.

Last weeks’ posts have been about how to challenge cognitive distortions through 3 steps:

Step 1: Identify the problem and its magnitude

Step 2: Examine the evidence of the problem creating thoughts

Step 3: Create alternative rational and more self-supportive thoughts


Today’s post is about investigating the accuracy of problematic thoughts by using definitions as a method.

This method is especially important for people who like intellectual discussions since it is about arguing with the distortions by specifying the meaning behind labels such as “inferior”, “loser”, “idiot” etc.

For example, by asking: Inferior to whom, when, how? Are they in turn inferior to someone? etc.

Often this leads to the insight that the labels more closely represent specific behaviours or patterns rather than the whole person.

More about this next week.


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