010: Negative and Positive Distortions (Part 1)

Nearly 2,000 years ago, the Greek Stoic philosopher, Epictetus, emphasized that we are upset, not by what happens to us, but rather by our thoughts and interpretations of those events. A significant advance in this ancient theory occurred in the 1950s and 1960s when Dr. Albert Ellis, from New York, and Dr. Aaron Beck, from Philadelphia emphasized that the thoughts that upset us when we’re feeling depressed, anxious, or angry are nearly always distorted and illogical. As Dr. Burns emphasized in his book, Feeling Good, depression and anxiety are the world’s oldest cons, because you’re almost always telling yourself something that’s actually untrue. But you probably do not realize that you’re fooling yourself because your negative thoughts, like “I’m a loser,” or “Things are hopeless,” or “I shouldn’t have screwed up” seem as valid and real to you as the skin on your hands.

In this podcast, David and Fabrice discuss the first four of ten common thought distortions that trigger negative feelings: All-or-Nothing Thinking, Overgeneralization, Mental Filter, and Discounting the Positive. Dr. Burns explains that each negative distortion also has a mirror-image positive version as well, and these positive distortions trigger hatred, violence, narcissism, and mania, as well as habits and addictions. See if you can recognize some of your own distorted thinking patterns as you listen to this podcast!

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