Blue Flower

We often see the mention of thinking errors when we see articles on resilience. In the space of a few paragraphs I will attempt to demystify just what these are.

On occasion, but hopefully not every one, that little voice in your head may say “I do that!” If you are now thinking, “what little voice?” Well, its that one!

We can broadly split thinking errors into a few broad themes:

All or nothing thinking or black-and-white thinking, here everything is viewed as being either good or bad with nothing in between. Look for shades of grey (not the book – that will only lead to other thoughts!).
 It’s important to avoid thinking about things in terms of extremes; labeling or catastrophising. Jumping to conclusions based on no real evidence is another way of catastrophising. This is quite popular in Blackpool (where I live), with plenty to help you fortune-telling.

Crystal Ball

This is at least as reliable if you want to give it a go? Another popular

stage show is mind-reading. We often think we know what other people are thinking. We assume that others are focused on our faults and weaknesses. Unless you have ‘special powers,’ like the acts on the prom, this is unlikely to be correct and can lead to personalising. This involves blaming yourself for anything that goes wrong, even when it’s not your fault or responsibility; or even when there is not even an opportunity for you to intervene. Thinking you should have done this, or ought to have done that. It can lead to honing in on the negative aspects of your situation, tunnel vision or filtering. Sticking with self-destruction, a common thinking error is to make unfair comparisons between yourself and others who have a clear advantage in some aspect of their life – “It has bothered me for some time now that I cannot get within a few seconds of Michael Phelps’ freestyle times (he’s the swimmer pictured below if you weren’t aware?)!”


Over-generalizing or exaggerating can also be ‘anti- karma,’ focusing on the negative, or failures; like it is almost the norm. This can be magnification of the bad, or trivializing the good. And finally, emotional reasoning is a common thinking error, convincing yourself that your thoughts reflect reality. Such as the fear of flying, which has hardly any likelihood of ending in disaster statistically.

There is a growing evidence base that links improving your personal resilience to your overall well-being. I hope you enjoyed this light-hearted look at some of the key areas...

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