May 222013
Thinking errors

Photo by imagerymajestic/

The mind is wondrous in that no two individuals think exactly the same all the time. Our thoughts are as unique as we are.

These thinking patterns dictate our realities.

Our realities are how we view the world around us. That view, or how we see things influence our actions and behaviors.

So our thoughts dictate our realities which influence our behaviors.

Personally, I am amazed at how differently people think. You could say I think about ‘thinking.’ That may be a waste of time for most people, but I see it as a learning experience. I want to know what they are thinking, what their reality is. This knowledge helps to understand their behaviors.

Thinking Errors

The thought processes of people can fall into what most would call normal thinking patterns. Then there are other thinking patterns that fall outside of the status quo of normalcy. These odd thinking patterns are usually called thinking errors, or cognitive distortions.

At one time or another, we all have a thinking error but most of us identify it as odd thinking and shrug it off. We correct the ‘craziness’ of our thoughts, learn from it and move on.


Have you ever expected to get all the answers right on a test only to feel like you’re a ‘dummy’ when you got one or two wrong? That is the ‘black or white, all or nothing’ thinking pattern that is considered odd. It is called polarized thinking and one of the cognitive distortions. People will think in extremes and disregard any ‘gray’ areas.

We’ve all felt this way at one time or another, but most of us rationalize afterwards that getting a couple of answers wrong on a test is still okay. That doesn’t make us dumb. But the ones with the thinking error dwell only on the wrong answers and actually have an internal feeling of inadequacy. That is considered a thinking error.

There are 15 different thinking errors, according to professional experts. These thinking errors can easily fit into the category of mental illnesses or disorders. But the connection between thinking errors and mental illness is weak as most mental health professionals are not well versed in cognitive distortions.

This neglect may be a missing link that could enhance mental health treatments. If a thinking error was identified and addressed, that corrected thought process could change their reality, which in turn would change their behavior.

You just peeked into my window of thought.

Cognitive Distortions Defined