"You must manage yourself before you can lead someone else." Zig Ziglar

Yeah, daylight savings time is here, and if you can't tell, I absolutely love it. Lent has also started. I'm sure you've thought about what you're going to give up for Lent. Some people give up sugar, chocolate, wine, bread, etc. I could go on with a list of things to give up. I've been telling people to give up give up their cognitive distortions (aka stinkin' thinkin') for Lent. Here are ten cognitive distortions you absolutely must give up for Lent:

  1. All-or-nothing thinking: You look at things in absolute, black-and-white categories.
  2. Overgeneralization: You view a negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat.
  3. Mental filter: You dwell on the negatives and ignore the positives.
  4. Discounting the positives: You insist that your accomplishments or positive qualities "don't count."
  5. Jumping to conclusions: (A) Mind reading - you assume that people are reacting negatively to you when there's no definite evidence for this; (B) Fortune-telling - you arbitrarily predict that things will turn out badly.
  6. Magnification or minimization: You blow things way up out of proportion or you shrink their importance inappropriately.
  7. Emotional reasoning: You reason from how you feel: "I feel like an idiot, so I really must be one." Or, "I don't feel like doing this, so I'll put it off."
  8. "Should statements": You criticize yourself or other people with "shoulds" or "shouldn'ts." "Musts," "oughts," and "have tos" are similar offenders.
  9. Labeling: You identify with your shortcomings. Instead of saying "I made a mistake," you tell yourself, "I'm a jerk," or "a fool," or "a loser."
  10. Personalization and blame: You blame yourself for something you weren't entirely responsible for, or you blame other people and overlook ways that your own attitudes and behavior might contribute to a problem.
For more information on cognitive distortions and untwisting your thinking, read The Feeling Good Handbook by Dr. David D. Burns. I have recommended this book to many clients. It's very helpful to the process of therapy. They will read the book between sessions and then we will discuss it in the session. Please call me for a consultation, at (650) 892-0357 for more help.

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Lianne Avila, MFT
1510 Fashion Island Blvd.
Suite 110
San Mateo, CA 94404

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(650) 892-0357

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