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  • Angelique Benois

How Cognitive Disruptions Show Up at Work and With Family, and What to Do About Them

Updated: Dec 18, 2019

We all know them. Those moments where you feel locked into one single negative thought.

Your mind almost feels paralyzed, unable to begin to focus on anything else.

These moment are created by what is called, “cognitive disruptions,” and can heavily influence

your productivity and sense of belonging. This can happen at home or in the office. As we work

through our disruptions, we are losing time to other valuable needs, and will begin to see

ourselves as an “outsider.”


Here are three common types of cognitive disruptions that can show up:


1. Catastrophizing, or what I call the “what if loop.” This is when we go through every

horrible situation that could arise, all with the worst possible outcomes. This sort of

thinking can consume your mind and can lead to feelings of disengagement as you

struggle to focus on other tasks.


2. Filtering is another type of cognitive disruption that can consume our thinking. Filtering

is where we filter out any positive aspect of a situation, and instead choose to focus on

only the worst information. This leads to a very negative outlook on life and work, which

brings itself to the office and home.


3. Polarized Thinking can have a major impact on our sense of belonging. How many times

have you reflected on yourself in a polarizing, “black or white,” way? You are either

perfect, or worthless, an angel or immoral, completely right or completely wrong. These

thoughts can affect self-image in a big way.

So what do we do about them?



1. Trust that you aren’t the only one feeling this way. Cognitive disruptions have been

studied extensively because so many people suffer from them. Millions of people

around the world suffer and you should never feel along, (or like you can’t talk to

anyone).


2. Identify the thought. We often let the thoughts come as natural, which leads us to

believe that they must in fact be true. When you begin to experience this sort of

cognitive issue. Identify it, and then re-examine. You are often able to identify the faults

in your thinking once you have identified it as an outlier.


3. Try the Double Standard Method. We often hold our friends and family to a different

standard then ourselves, which only reinforces these cognitive disruptions. Next time

one of these occurs, ask yourself what advice you would give a friend with the same

problem. With one standard, you will realize how far-fetched your thinking may be.

Are there other cognitive disruptions you have experienced, or methods you have learned to

use to control them? I would love to hear them.

Please remember...Self-Care is the Best Care. And Your Time is N.O.W.

Thanks for reading.

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