It’s a great suggestion in something that I’m really familiar with.
So what cognitive distortions basically are?
Or ways that we filter reality, we distort reality with our beliefs generally in a negative way. What does this mean?
Different people have different categories of cognitive distortion and I’m just going to discuss about a few that I think are really important and the ones that I have come up with myself and in coaching people to get rid of social anxiety:
1. Absolutist thinking – also known as all-or-nothing thinking which is an always or never situation.
When I go out I feel people always stare at me and always judging me.
Or I always feel anxious whenever I go out.
Or I never can talk to people without feeling awkward or I never say the right thing when I talk to people or I feel I never say the right thing when I talk to people.
It’s true that you might feel anxious by stating that to yourself.
That’s the belief coming out in a verbal form and continuing to distort your reality into something that you don’t want.
2. Mental filtering – where you’re just focusing in the negative and there’s all this information that is happening that is actually positive but because your filters are set as such, all the positive things get caught and the negative things just come right through and the positive get stuck.
Maybe once in a while the positive gets in but most likely you’re quickly going to discount it and blow it off.
That’s also mental filtering when it comes in, it really won’t. Anything positive will bounce at and you just deny the positive information because of your belief set in your system.
And remember that the beliefs aren’t just linguistics, they aren’t just in words or images in your body, emotions.
When I work with people we look at everything because you embody your beliefs.
It’s not only in your head, it’s throughout you.
3. Jumping to conclusions – is when you get some information and somebody looked away from you and you automatically jumped in a conclusion that that person thinks you’re weird or whatever.
You automatically run through that information so it fits your distorted reality and belief system.
4. Magnification – is blowing a piece of information up so it becomes a big deal when it’s not.
You get to a social situation, when you start talking to somebody and then you said something awkward or out of place but instead of recovering and laughing to that, you take it and then magnify it and you freeze up and walk away.
A lot of times, what you don’t understand about being social is that people always make mistakes and say things that are out of place but it is how you roll with it or go along with it and not always analyzing and over thinking everything.
The key is to do the inner work, to separate and see what you’re doing, how you create your reality being your beliefs.
5. Musterbation – the should, shouldn’t, must and mustn’t like:
I must do this.
6. Blaming – blaming yourself or others and the world and beating yourself.
Doesn’t matter where the blaming is. It’s really disempowering to blame.
Even though I don’t mention about not taking responsibility, certainly people can do things to you and you can do things to other people and yourself but when you put the blame in there it actually locks into place and doesn’t allow the responsibility to change that behavior.
So you can still take responsibility but not blame. It’s a lot more neutral place to deal with something is when you do it from the place of responsibility and there are consequences but to blame and beat yourself having social anxiety is really detrimental.
Those are all the cognitive distortions. Of course there are ways to lighten and eventually overcome these issues and to name a few, we have to practice self-compassion, self-acceptance, etc.
And there are many lessons and techniques to help social anxiety sufferers and all can be found in my Dissolve Social Anxiety course.