Do you know what thinking errors are and how can they be treated?

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Sure, at some point, you have had thinking errors, but you are not aware of it. Here we tell you what they are and how you can avoid them.

Man looking up touching his head

Most of the time we are not fully aware of what we are weighing and the mental and biological process we are experiencing. Photo: Unsplash

LatinAmerican Post | Vanesa López Romero

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Leer en español: ¿Sabes qué son los errores de pensamiento y cómo se pueden tratar?

Human beings have the ability to think logically, that is, we have the ability to carry out a mental process where we make connections between ideas or representations of what surrounds us in order to establish common sense. However, despite having this ability, most of the time we are not fully aware of what we are weighing and the mental and biological process we are experiencing, which can cause us to have distorted thoughts. This means that there is a wrong interpretation of reality, of what we are experiencing.

This can happen to anyone; in fact it should not surprise us, considering that thought never leaves us. For psychology, these thoughts are distorted, which does not imply that they are pathological. However, although they are normal, they can affect our daily lives, so there are some methods that we can use to avoid so-called "thinking errors".

Let's look at some thinking errors and their solutions.

Thinking errors

  • Filtering: when faced with a situation, only one element is taken into account and the rest are excluded. Normally that single element is negative, so all the energy is used in that element.
  • Dichotomous thinking: it is when the extremes are taken into account, but not the gray areas in a situation. Somehow you think of "all or nothing", leaving aside the possibilities. 
  • Generalization: this happens when an idea is extracted from a specific situation and is generalized regardless of time and space. Generalization can affect the way we relate to reality even after a long time after drawing the conclusion.
  • The fallacy of justice: this happens when a person considers that they know what is fair and what is not, and when someone does not agree with it they feel resentful.
  • Interpretation of thought: is when actions are interpreted reaching conclusions about their thoughts and feelings without talking to them first, jumping to conclusions. This directly affects interpersonal relationships.
  • Label: pejorative words are used to define oneself, both physically and in the way of acting.
  • Fallacy of change: it focuses on changing the ways of acting and thinking of other people and seeking happiness from this.
  • Personalization: it happens when you see yourself as the cause of a negative event that you are not responsible for and that is obviously much bigger than yourself.
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How to change those thinking errors?

The most important thing when working on changing the thinking errors is to bear in mind that, again, they are something normal, and that in that order of ideas it is very difficult to make them disappear. If you want to follow an exact process, you can follow these tips:

  • Be truly aware of the situation. Allow yourself a moment to step back and see the situation from a broader perspective.
  • Describe the situation by answering these questions objectively: what, when, where, who, why.
  • Identify the emotion or emotions you are feeling and measure their level from 0 to 10
  • Evaluate the conclusions you have reached so far and identify if you are having a thinking error.
  • Identify what kind of distorted thinking you are having. Being self-aware is very complicated, but it becomes easier once we have the right tools.
  • From all this, draw the most realistic conclusion and perform an evaluation again where you answer the questions and measure the intensity of your emotions from 0 to 10.

This exercise may be difficult to do at first, but as time goes by you will get used to it.


Remember that, if deemed necessary, it is important to access a professional service that can guide you to maintain stable mental health and well-being.