Think Again – Managing Unhelpful Thinking

Keep it real
Written by Allison Wolf

Have you ever felt anxiety and worry about some action or behaviour you took that actually did not materialize into any of your anticipated consequences?

For example, an offhand comment you thought might’ve been misconstrued sets off a flurry of negative thoughts like fear of getting fired or some physical effect like anxiety-ridden insomnia.

Part of being human is this experience of negative thoughts that trigger anxiety. One psychological term for these is “unhelpful thought patterns”.

The unhelpful thinking style escalating a small incident into a big disaster  is called catastrophizing.

There are many types of unhelpful thinking styles and the first step to managing them is to recognize them for what they are: thinking traps that drag you down.

Here are ten common unhelpful thinking styles:

  1. Catastrophizing
  2. All or Nothing Thinking is the trap of perfectionism
  3. Over Generalizing
  4. Mental filter occurs when behaviours are ignored
  5. Disqualifying the Positive
  6. Jumping to Conclusions
  7. Emotional Reasoning tends to be irrational
  8. Labeling of yourself or others
  9. Personalization relates to blame of self or others
  10. When you apply Should/Ought/Must to your behavior
These unhelpful thinking styles cloud our thinking and our judgment. They can trigger heightened stress and anxiety. We can’t control our thoughts, but we can choose how we respond..
To read the full article on the strategies you can take to curb these unwelcome thoughts and to do about them, click here.
Everything you experience in life is filtered by your mind.  Getting to know your mind better and learning how to manage disruptive thoughts is a critical skill to develop.

About the author

Allison Wolf

I am the founder of AWAL and one of the most senior coaches for lawyers in North America. I have helped countless clients over the past fifteen years, develop thriving legal practices and before that served as director of marketing for award-winning law firms. My specialty is uncovering the thinking traps and gaps holding clients back and helping them acquire the mindsets, skills, and habits for growing successful and rewarding legal careers. After a career in legal marketing and business development with law firms in Beijing, New York, and Vancouver, I was trained as a coach in 2004 at Royal Roads University and now coach clients from across North America. You can reach me at allison@shiftworks.ca or learn more about my coaching practice from the coaching section of the Attorney With A Life Website.

1 Comment

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.