Being mindful and aware of our thinking errors
Today I’m going to be talking about mindfulness of thought. I don’t know if you knew this, but your brain is literally designed to think all the time. It never stops thinking, but rarely do we pay attention to our thoughts on a regular basis.
When we learn mindfulness, we actually pay attention to our thoughts, because a lot of the time our emotions come from our thoughts, and the way that we interpret things.
We have what’s called thinking errors, meaning that we have something that’s happened in our life and we make up something about it. We have a previous experience that has happened, and that’s caused us to interpret this current situation as the same as the last time.
We call those thinking errors, because sometimes we actually don’t look at the event with facts. We look at what’s happening with our interpretations, which can actually cause an emotion that might not be appropriate, given the current thing that’s happening.
We like to go over and be mindful of those thoughts to see if we have any common thinking errors that might be causing some emotions that might be a little bit too extreme or inappropriate for the current situation.
The cool thing that we can do when we notice our thinking errors are is to be mindful of our actual events and interpret those using facts and interpret those events in what we call a wise mind way so that we don’t overreact to situations. We don’t have chaotic responses to situations and have what we call emotion regulation.
What we’re going for with emotion regulation is to be more stable in our emotional responses. Not to completely dull our emotional responses, but to actually have emotions that are appropriate, given whatever situation’s in front of us.
The more mindful we are with our thought patterns, the more that we can be in control of our emotional responses, and the more choices that we get to make with our lives.
When we are mindful of our thoughts, and we notice that we have thinking errors, we can notice them as that, and actually change our thought patterns, which then changes our emotional responses. It can be awesome if you get good at noticing your thinking errors.
It is true, however most people do not pay attention to their thoughts on a regular basis. With mindfulness, though, we learn to pay attention to our thoughts and our emotions as well as the way we interpret things.
Some of the common thinking areas include – black or white thinking, over-generalization, “Should” statements and disqualifying the positive.
At Healthy Futures we work on Mindfulness and see if there are any common thinking errors that are triggering strong, or possibly inappropriate, emotions. We work toward emotion regulation where you are interpreting facts of the event so that we don’t overreact to the situation and have a stable appropriate response.
When we are more mindful with our thoughts, we are in control of our emotional response and the choices we make.
Healthy Futures offers Dialectical Behavior Therapy life classes to help with mindfulness and other Skills for Life. Contact us today to learn more about our DBT offerings.