Thoughts that poison our lives: Top 10 cognitive dissonance situations.

14 09 2009

iStock_000009732674MediumFollowing a good Vlog post by Mark at CoachCommons, I scrambled into my coaching notes to run down a list of the top 10 situations where people experience cognitive dissonance.

Saved that from a book from Dr. David Burns

  1. All or nothing: For you, there are good guys and bad guys…
  2. Generalizing:You turn that grain of sand into  a great big mountain !
  3. Mental filter:You see everything through dark glasses.
  4. Shrugging positives: You do great things BUT it’s not worth mentioning, it’s only you…
  5. Jumping to conclusion: No fact? Who cares YOU’RE RIGHT! You assume…everything/self fulfilling prophecy
  6. Dramatize and minimize: You downplay the great stuff until they look small
  7. Emotional reasoning:  HOW you feel is WHAT you are…. You can’t be that wouldn’t be reading this blog 🙂
  8. The “should”: Everybody SHOULD do this, do that. No one should “should over themselves” like that!
  9. Negative branding: For you or others. One mistake and BANG …HOT-IRON BRANDING
  10. Blaming: Here again, it’s you or someone. You always have someone to blame

Do you recognize yourself in one of these situations ?

Remember Toughts lead to Feelings that lead to the Actions that bring Results

If you don’t like the Results you have change the Actions you take!

And if you can’t help but act the way you do, look at the feelings behind the actions…and the thoughts behind the feelings.

Use that list to identify what cognitive dissonance you’ll start correcting RIGHT NOW!

Change some thoughts

You’ll FEEL GOOD about it.

You’ll act accordingly

Ans new results will follow.

As for myself, these days,  I’m guilty of number 4. Now I’ve got to work on those 2 Online programs….



2 responses

5 02 2010

I agree with you and David Burns , so many of our daily reactions are influenced by some of these cognitive distortions. I will try to become more aware of these situations in order to see them coming before they take control of my thoughts.

Thanks for reminding us

Stephen Lafond

21 03 2010

With all due respect, I believe that these examples are more to do with irrational or dysfunctional thoughts that we may change via the use of well established CBT techniques. Cognitive Dissonance in the context of Festinger’s early work or Cooper and Fazio is more along the lines of the discrepancy of cognitions or the conflict of cognitions and how we reduce that conflict in our own mind. For example I believe in animal rights but I eat meat. If I recognise / examine those conflicting beliefs then I will experience cognitive dissonance. From that point I can reduce that discrepancy in many ways including the use of defence mechanisms eg: rationalisation – the animals I eat were killed humanely or I don’t eat battery chicken eggs etc. Alternatively, I may become a vegetarian or I may rethink my position on animal rights. I am so please you have highlighted Burns’ work. His discussion about the downward spiral of irrational thoughts is particularly interesting to me. Feeling Good is an excellent laymans book for the broader community in the area of recognising and changing unhelpful cognitions. I believe the explanation of cognitive dissonance could be better explored via its application to coaching clients: their goals, self-regulation cycles and their readiness for change by way of example.

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