• Karen

They come in 3's - Instagram Trilogies Worth a Second Glance

I mostly create my instagram posts in trilogies, ... it's how they appear in scrolls, and it gives me a template to help contain my ever expanding thoughts and connections. Each stands alone, and yet for me they are richer, fuller, more thoughtful when viewed as a threesome. So I decided to add a selection occasionally to my blog, especially the ones that have special resonance for the work I do.

These three are cognitive distortions ..... it is my understanding that In 1976, psychologist Aaron Beck first proposed the theory behind cognitive distortions and in the 1980s, David Burns was responsible for popularizing it with common names and examples for the distortions. A google search will list somewhere between 10 and 15, I picked 3 to highlight on this particular week.


Henny Penny with Chicken Licken and other farmyard friends went to tell the king: “The Sky is Falling…”

The poor little hen of the kid’s storybook ran hither and thither …. 🔥Catastrophizing

This is known as cognitive distortion, at least by humans … I am not sure about poultry and other farm animals.

🔥Catastrophizing is when someone assumes that the worst will happen, it can prompt people to jump to the worst possible conclusion after even a minor setback. A couple of examples ....... “If I fail this test, I will never pass school, and I will be a total failure in life.” “If he/she leaves me, I will never find anyone else, and I will never be happy again.”

None of us can claim to be exempt, we can all think irrationally from time to time.

Cognitive distortions are:

  • illogical or irrational ways of thinking.

  • It’s a way our minds trick us into believing that something really isn’t true,

  • or when our mind blows small things way out of proportion.

So what can you do to get back on track?

  • Shift your perspective, not all days are bad.

  • Use mindfulness, believe in yourself, getting enough rest and engaging in stress-relieving techniques, such as exercise, meditation, and journaling, can all help

  • Ask yourself, “based on the facts, how likely is this to happen?” then consider a positive one or even a less-negative option.


Defined as .....

“the rigid dominance of psychological reactions over chosen values and contingencies in guiding action” (p. 678, Bond et al. 2011), which often occurs when individuals attempt to avoid experiencing unwanted internal events.

☄️psychological inflexibility is a pattern in which behavior is excessively controlled by one's thoughts, feeling and other internal experiences, or to avoid these experiences, at the expense of more effective and meaningful actions.

⭐️⭐️Notice ….⁣

Closed Mindedness⁣:

  • use of such phrases as should, expectation, must, have to, need, and ought.⁣

  • over identification with behaviors, events and situations ⁣⁣

  • over generalized conclusions, - frequent use of never, always, everyone, no-one⁣

Cognitive Rigidity …a difficulty in changing mental sets⁣

  • It also implies an inability to see a situation from a different point of view. ⁣

  • or see life with blinders on, perceiving only one out of the countless nuances there are.⁣

⭐️ Beware⁣

  • rigid thinking, together with blame, can distance us from painful thoughts, and allows us to hide from our own culpability, denying ourselves opportunity for growth.⁣

  • rigid thinking too, makes us feel like we’re constantly messing up because we’re not conforming to the ideas in our mind. Thus, we may feel guilty. frenetic, anxious, useless ⁣

Overthinking is a root cause of these elements.⁣

An additional side note with reference to "blame' .... blame is a completely destructive feeling. It’s not useful, it doesn’t help us heal and it won’t inspire us to do anything productive.

Also ......

Blame and rigid thinking distance us from painful thoughts, in other words it is a strategy of avoidance.

What efforts can we make to offset this if we notice these tendencies?⁣

  • a critical place to start is self awareness, catch yourself, then stop and breathe, then re-start the thought or sentence leaving out the should, oughts or musts or nevers and always etc ….⁣

  • go with the flow, try new things, alter your everyday routine⁣

  • do a values exercise, then challenge your ‘morals’ how insistent are you that others have the same view as you ..⁣

  • question your thinking, are you only seeing the person, situation or problem from one perspective, your?⁣ ⁣

⭐️.......... then finally as in all things ……. PRACTICE 💫✨☄️⁣


⭐️⁣ Brene Brown says ...

When perfection is driving us, shame is riding shotgun and fear is that annoying back seat driver...

So lets look at what that may mean and see if you can see yourself in any of these descriptions.⁣

  • Perfectionists set unrealistically high expectations for themselves and others.⁣ {Sometimes touted as a attribute apart from the 'unrealistic' element!]

  • They are quick to find fault and are overly critical of mistakes.⁣

  • They tend to procrastinate on a project out of their fear of failure.

  • They shrug off compliments and forget to celebrate their success. ⁣

  • They perceive unrealistic expectations of perfection from others.⁣

☀️There is a difference between striving for excellence and demanding perfection. ⁣

Some research indicates that perfectionistic tendencies have increased substantially among young people over the past 30 years, with no regard for gender or culture. Reasons for this tend to be speculative! ⁣

  • Perhaps greater academic and professional competition?⁣

  • Maybe the pervasive presence of social media and the harmful social comparisons it elicits? ⁣

  • [later note .... see a more recent instagram post on competition, comparison and winning]

What efforts can we make to offset this if we notice these tendencies?⁣

  • Letting go of the comparison mindset can help people achieve at a high level, without being beholden to some impossibly perfect ideal.⁣

  • Practicing mindfulness and being present in the moment,⁣

  • Using compassionate self-talk⁣

  • Challenging negative self-judgments. ⁣ ⁣

P.S. Look a bit closer and see if any of those book titles are familiar .... I love children's books for their clarity of message and visual representations ...... so often they can get the point over in a straightforward way that is more easily remembered and therefore so much more useful than pages of words that can turn many off ...

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