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Thinking Traps


Mind is the element of a human that enable them to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think, and to feel; the faculty of consciousness and thought.

In this sense, thinking can be refer to the act or process of producing thoughts. Thought is again an idea, opinion or belief produced by thinking faculty of mind.

Thoughts can be positive or negative affecting our mind and body.

Thinking allows humans to make sense of, interpret, represent or model the world we experience.

Therefore, our whole world and its perception depends on our thinking and our happiness also. If we produce happy thoughts, ideas, opinions and beliefs than we will experience happiness and if we produce unhappy thoughts than we will end in state of sadness, anxiety and depression.

Sometimes, we get stuck in pattern or styles of thinking even when the occasion does not demand it to be. These patterns or styles of thinking which arises panic, anxiety and disturbance inside us are called thinking traps.

Human are smart but we are also imperfect, therefore, we fall into these thinking traps that makes us feel down or upset, weakens our intellect and secretly affects our decisions.

Caught up in these traps, humans become prey of depression, anxiety and distress which can negatively affect our mental and physical health proven medically and scientifically worldwide.

In order to avoid being trapped in thinking traps, first we have to recognize them. Some common types of thinking traps which devoid us from happiness, success and reaching the extreme of our capabilities and intellect are identified in coming passages.

The most common type of thinking trap, we get caught up everyday is Black and White thinking. In this pattern of thinking, we only consider the extreme scenarios, conditions or situations in our life. We think that things are either perfect or terrible; we are either success or failure, forgetting the grey areas which come between both extremes.

We need to recognize that life cannot be either success or failure but it is the combination of both. Sometimes things are not as terrible or perfect as it seems to be.

Emotional reasoning is also a thinking trap as emotions play pivotal role in our life. Emotional reasoning happens when we assume ourself to be losers and therefore, always feel like a loser even when it is not true. When we experience failure or rejection in our life, we classify ourself in category of losers and not moving beyond this feeling, consider our life to be a mess or a failed experiment.

We need to know that losing and rejection is part of life and in end we have to move beyond it for better.

Wishful thinking is a trap in which we organize our life around what we hope or wish to happen rather than what is most likely to happen. We forget that life doesn’t always work as we desire. Sometimes what we expect to be happen, the opposite of our expectation takes place. We have to accept the reality and always have to be ready with a backup plan.

Another trap is when we focus on tree and forget about the forest, it is called tunnel vision.

In our life, we meet different persons some appreciate us and some criticize us.

The problem arises when we only focus on the critics and their negative comments and forget about the ones who applauded us. Our mind and thought are always focused on critics and their criticism.

At the end, it is again life in which we have to face both appraise and criticism but the key to happiness is to give attention to the positive ones and remove your focus from negative ones.

Blaming is the most nefarious kind of our thinking. In which, we always either blame ourself or others for all our misfortunes and disasters. It is an unhelpful approach to our problems in which we are always stuck in our past, lowering our self esteem and ruining our relations.

We need to learn from our mistakes and mishaps and try to do better in future instead of putting blame on our-self or others.

We also jump into conclusions without taking into account all proofs, evidences, information and events. This can happen, when we think ourselves as mind reader or fortune teller.

We guess what other persons are thinking or what is in their mind or what will happen in future. We need to realize that we are not living in magical world of Harry Potter and that we do not have magical power of mind reading and we do not have a crystal ball which will tell us about future.

We need to stop what we are doing and start analyzing all the information available before coming to conclusion.

We also many times either exaggerate/magnify or minimize/discount either the positive or negative elements of given situation.

The proverbial “making the mountain out of molehill” is ideal to represent magnifying of a situation as we exaggerate a bad situation to be end of the world but when we face an ideal situation we take it for granted and discount or minimize it as there was nothing good or to be happy element present in it.

We should not exaggerate mishaps or problems as their occurrence cannot be eliminated in our life and life will still go on beside their occurrence so keep calm and be patient and also do not spoil happy moments of life whether they are small or big, enjoy them to the fullest and don’t discount them.

Many times we are so much attached to our opinions, ideas, beliefs and ideology that we fall in trap of confirmation bias and than we accept data and information that only support our current opinions, ideas, beliefs and ideology but rejects or find faults in other information that collides with our opinions, beliefs, ideas and ideology.

This can cause extremism in our views and direct us towards violence in defense of our wrong ideals against the truth.

We need to consider that as being human, we are imperfect and therefore mistakes will be present in our views and other persons opinion can be better than ours, it is a possibility and it will always remain as a possibility. So, we should accepts information which is against our beliefs and try to make corrections instead of blindly defending the errors.

Over generalization is a trap in which a person become attached to two words: always or never. When we think that a certain thing always happen to us or never happen to others than we are overgeneralizing. In life, nothing happens always to one person and never happens to other.

Each person faces his or her highs and lows, success and failure and rise and fall and nothing is explicitly attached to anyone and not to the other.

We just need to be reminding our-self this over and over again that problems are present in every person life not only in ours, everyone faces failures in their life and if we work hard than we can get success like others who toiled to achieve success.

Success is not hereditary, it must be achieved by dedication, by overcoming your failures, by correcting your mistakes and by struggle and working hard.

Thinking traps are terminator and predator of our happiness. We need to point out and exterminate them. Such types of thoughts are the obstacles in our journey to success which we need to overcome.

We just need to change our thinking than the world around us will look much better and full of opportunities. Happiness is virtue of our positive thoughts and sadness is vice of negative thoughts.

As said by Abraham Lincoln:

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses”.

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