By Paula Davis-Laack • May 13, 2010•Balancing Private and Professional Life
Take a moment to think about how much information your brain processes in one day. It’s A LOT – too much, actually. In order to help us process all of the information that comes at us, we often take mental short cuts. Sometimes these short cuts work, but many times, they do not.
For example, how many times have you interpreted a partner's affectation as certain confirmation that he or she didn't like the most recent assignment you prepared for him or her? Or, maybe you are sure you know what your spouse or partner is thinking, and you proceed accordingly, without all of the information you need.
Anytime you run into a thinking trap, it zaps your ability to think accurately and flexibly about a problem, and this impacts your resilience. If any of these traps sound familiar, the first step in correcting your thinking is to become aware of your tendency to fall into a trap. The second step is to start practicing a different thought process. Easy? No. Worth it? YES!
There are eight common thinking traps that people tend to make when faced with a challenge – here are the first three along with ways to avoid each trap:
Name of the Thinking Trap
How to Avoid the Trap
Jumping to Conclusions
Believing you are certain of the meaning of a situation despite little or no evidence to support that belief
Slow down and examine the evidence supporting your belief
Focusing on the less significant details in a situation
Ask what pertinent information did I miss
Setting global beliefs about a person’s beliefs or abilities based on a single situation
Ask whether there is a specific behavior that explains the situation