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54. Distorted #^@%$@ thinking

I love drawing this line on a note card for my kids at school. It always makes them laugh. I do this to illustrate how crazy our brains can be. Our brains are capable of taking a single event or feeling and creating a total cluster-#%^#. And for some of us, this cluster-$^#% of thinking can happen quickly and involuntarily. Aaron Beck is the founder of what we now call cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is Aaron Beck. He came up the idea of CBT in 1962 and in 1972 wrote about these five different types of mental filters. Said another way, we have been certifiable irrational and crazy for many decades. Here is my translation of Beck's FIVE mental filters that are the reason for much of our distorted thinking:

  1. Arbitrary inference -- We interpret a situation with no factual evidence. In some cases, we totally make shit up.

  2. Selective abstraction - We focus on a single detail out of context and ignore the rest of the situation and details that may be helpful.

  3. Overgeneralization -- We take one event or incident and draw big hairy conclusions about future events or incidents.

  4. Magnification & minimization -- We pull out these amazing imaginary microscopes or telescopes that allow us to irrationally zoom in and out of situations to draw more gross conclusions that aren't fact-based.

  5. Inexact Labeling - We label events using words that may not describe what really happened. And just like perceptions become reality, our words become our truths.

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