Overcoming jumping to conclusions – mind reading and fortune telling

Thank you for joining Stay-in-Bed Mom Blog (SIBMB) for an ongoing positive self-talk series. Self-love starts with positive self-talk. We’ll continue to discuss cognitive distortions, or unhelpful thinking styles, through the lens of parenthood. Last time we discussed disqualifying the positive. A little cognitive distortion here, a little exaggeration there isn’t going to affect your mental state in the short term. However, if your negative thinking becomes chronic, then your mental health will undoubtedly suffer.

What’s jumping to conclusions – mind reading and fortune telling? Often abbreviated as JTC, there are two types of this cognitive distortion: mind reading and fortune telling.

You assume you know what a person is feeling and thinking, as if you could read his or her mind. You judge or decide something without having all the facts, which may give rise to poor or rash decisions.

When a person is fortune telling, he or she is predicting a negative future outcome or deciding that situations will turn out for the worst before the situation has even occurred.

What’s an example of jumping to conclusions – mind reading and fortune telling? Your child is having a tantrum at a restaurant. You notice a woman staring at you. “She thinks I can’t discipline my kid!” Maybe. But maybe not. She may just be hungry or bored.

An example of fortune telling would be: “I’ll never be able to dine out with my kids again.”

What does jumping to conclusions – mind reading and fortune telling look like in your mom or dad life? It’s like owning a crystal ball that only predicts misery for you and your family. You are determined that you know how others feel about you.

How can jumping to conclusions – mind reading and fortune telling be harmful? It can interfere with your relationships. If it forms a pattern, it can affect your mental health.

Am I jumping to conclusions – mind reading and fortune telling in my daily life? You may be if… you catch yourself using words or phrases like…

  • “This mom or dad doesn’t like me.”
  • “This teacher doesn’t respect me.”
  • “This coworker doesn’t want to work with me.”
  • “This group of moms/dads doesn’t want to hang out with me.”

  • “I just know I will make a mistake and ruin everything.” (fortune telling)

Do…use the 3 Cs!

  1. Categorize the negative, self defeating thought. Identify the unwanted thought or thinking pattern (e.g. all-or-nothing thinking, overgeneralization, mental filter, disqualifying the positive, etc.). Write it in a thought journal.
  2. Challenge the thought. Look at what you wrote down. Review your thought journal and look for signs of disqualifying the positive. Reframe the undesired thought. Ask yourself how someone else would view your thought. Is this really true?
  3. Change the thought. Replace your thought with a positive or an optimistically realistic one. Believe you can create a different outcome in the future. A single negative event doesn’t hold true forever.

What can I do to overcome jumping to conclusions – mind reading and fortune telling?

  1. See how easily you’re fooled by illusions.
  2. Ask if you’re too quick to form an impression of a person.
  3. See how many times others jump to conclusions in a humorous way in TV or movies.
  4. Test your ability to see the whole picture.
  5. Think about the times you jumped to the wrong conclusions.

Remember the 3 Cs of cognitive restructuring, and you will notice a shift in the way you see the world. Through practice, you will think in a healthier and more positive way and see things more clearly. Everyone needs a daily dose of vitamin C and the 3 Cs – Categorize –> Challenge –> Change. Both will do a body and mind good!


A Final Thought – From the Pillow

I’m not good enough. Scratch that thought! I AM mom (or dad) enough. 

So keep talking back to your brain.

What strategies have worked for you for overcoming jumping to conclusions – mind reading and fortune telling?

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