A Look at Irrational Beliefs

Woman challenging irrational beliefsIrrational beliefs are those that are untrue, don’t make sense, or are harmful to us. While we all have some irrational beliefs, we can learn to recognize them and challenge them. Here are some common types of irrational beliefs that can cause negative feelings and fuel addictive behaviors.

1. Demands—Telling yourself that you “must” or “should” do something often leads to frustration and emotional distress. Having overly rigid demands on yourself or others can lead to disappointment when those demands are not met. Instead, try telling yourself that you “want” or “would like” to do something.

2. Over-generalizations—This is also known as “all or nothing” thinking. Believing that you “always” or “never” do something may lead to feelings of frustration and helplessness. Instead, recognize that even if you do something frequently, there have been times when you have been able to act differently.

3. Frustration intolerance—It’s common to say that you “can’t stand” or “can’t handle” something. But this is very rarely true. While something may be uncomfortable or undesirable, you can handle it and you probably have done so.

4. Awfulizations—Saying something is the worst, most awful thing in the world is an exaggeration that leads you to feel more negatively than is actually realistic. Try to keep a healthy perspective. While something may be unpleasant, it’s often not as bad as you imagine.