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 realism of problematic thoughts by re-attribution as a method.
In the cognitive distortions personalization and blaming, a person claims an unreasonable large share of the blame for the negative things they experience, no matter what the actual cause is.
In re-attribution, a person focuses on other external factors and persons that also contributed to the situation. This is not to deflect blame, but to ensure that one does not get paralysed by fear and anxiety from unreasonable demands. This also helps problem solving by identifying more angles and hence possible solutions.
More about this next week.