Your brain is really good at making you feel exactly what you're thinking. We'll have "automatic negative thoughts" that lead us to fume on something that may not be "true". The thought process here is a type of Cognitive Distortion that mental health professionals call Catastrophizing. It's like a logicial fallacy that's often at the root of your automatic negative thoughts.
All or Nothing Thinking
This distortion happens when we have no room for middle ground. If we think that a small fault in ourselves means we’re fundamentally rotten or otherwise terrible, we’re likely engaging in All or Nothing Thinking.
If we’re taking a small problem and blowing it way out of proportion, we’re Catastrophizing. Did you make a small mistake at work and are dreading if someone found out even though it’s nothing serious? You’re probably catastrophizing.
If we're worried about what someone else is thinking about us, we're Mind Reading. Unless someone tells you what they're thinking, you have absolutely no way of knowing. So why assume the worst?
Minimization of the Positive
If we downplay the good things that are happening to us, we're minimizing the positive. Even if our day didn't go 100% as planned, it doesn't mean that the 60% that did go right should be ignored.
Magnification of the Negative
If we're judging a situation based entirely on the negative parts and not considering the positive parts, we're likely magnifying the negative. If we’re constantly berating ourselves for bombing a job interview, we're probably filtering out all the experience we gained from that interview.
If we're taking one characteristic of a person and applying it to the whole person, we're Labeling. If someone brushed us off, they might not be a "jerk," maybe they're just in a hurry. This applies to ourselves as well; just because we make a mistake doesn't mean we're a "failure."
What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the "gold standard" of psychotherapy and is widely considered to be one of the most effective, evidence backed treatments for depression, anxiety, and panic. If you go into just about any therapist or psychiatrist, CBT will likely be one of the first treatments they try.
quirk is a companion app for one of the most common exercises in CBT. You may have heard it called "the three column technique" or "catch it, check it, change it."
You don't need to be diagnosed with anything to try CBT. It can still help you overcome any stress, fear, and sadness you encounter in life.
Your thoughts cause your moods
Your brain is really good at making you feel exactly what you're thinking. We'll have "automatic negative thoughts" that lead us to fume on something that may not be "true". Often the more our thoughts cause us distress, the more likely they are to be distorted.
For example, let's say we just got out of a job interview and thought this:
"I took too long to answer that question"
The thought is pretty harmless, but it could lead to a series of more upsetting and distorted thoughts:
"Because I took too long, I'll bet I failed the interview."
"Because I failed this one, I'll probably fail all interviews I get."
"Because I'll fail all my interviews, I'm probably just bad at this career and I should give up."
Challenge the Thought
Distortions give us a framework to challenge the negative thoughts.
- Is it true that taking too long to answer an interview question will lead to failing the interview? Or are we Fortune Telling?
- Is it true that failing one interview will cause us to fail other interviews? Or are we Catastrophizing?
Even if we were "bad" at this career (Labeling), would it be so bad? Many people are terrible at a whole number of careers. An astrophysicist isn't remotely good at surgery. A teacher might be an awful lawyer. A banker may not be the best firefighter.
Digging deeper into our thoughts can often help us find core beliefs that are fueling the thoughts. In this case, we likely believe that we should be great at our job. But no one is guaranteed to be the best at everything and it's fine to just be average. By definition, most people are.
Change the Thought
Finally, we get to the point of this exercise: changing your thoughts. If we let ourselves sit and cycle through this type of thought, we'll just make ourselves miserable.
So instead, we'll incorporate our challenges and write down what a logical automatic thought might be:
"I may not have done as well as I would have liked in that interview, but it's good practice."
Privacy & Data Collection
quirk treats your thoughts as the most sensitive possible data, because it is your most sensitive possible data.
So like rational people: we do not record or store your thoughts.
We don't want to know your thoughts. When you will record something in quirk, it will live on your phone, not on some server in some city or something. In the future, we could create a cloud-sync feature. If we do this, your thoughts will be client-side encrypted.