Man looking out window struggling with unhealthy thinking

5 Signs of Unhealthy Thinking

Distorted thoughts and beliefs are at the root of many mental health issues, from eating disorders to addiction. Those who struggle with unhealthy thinking may have an inner dialogue that tells them they’re not good enough or their pain will never go away, which can engender unpleasant emotions. The combination of negative thoughts and feelings may prompt individuals to escape or self-medicate with drugs, alcohol, food, sex, and other risky behaviors. 

Fortunately, Recovery Ranch can help people break free from the self-destructive cycle caused by toxic thinking. Our mental health treatment programs include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which teaches people how to recognize unhealthy thoughts and replace them with more accurate and useful ones. Call 1.844.876.7680 to learn more about how we can help you recover from poor mental health. 

5 Signs of Unhealthy Thoughts

Unhealthy thinking is often indicative of poor mental health. Knowing the symptoms of toxic thinking can empower individuals to get the care they need. The following signs may point to underlying mental health conditions.

1. All-or-Nothing Thinking

Also known as black-or-white thinking, this thought pattern is grounded in extremes. For these individuals, falling short of perfection translates into total failure. For instance, one misstep on a diet is grounds for complete abandonment of the plan. Vocabulary may include words such as “never,” “always,” and “forever” instead of more accurate and realistic terms.

2. Overgeneralization 

A person who overgeneralizes makes broad, sweeping generalizations about a particular topic or situation. Following one unwanted event or experience, they may conclude that nothing ever goes right. If an individual gets a low grade in school, a rejection from a love interest, or criticism at work, they may generalize it into feelings of defeat and failure.

3. Labeling and Mislabeling

Labeling relies on the premise that you are what you do. Rather than describing specific actions and behaviors, you give yourself and others a label. For example, making a mistake labels you a loser or failure in your mind. Labels are abstractions that serve little purpose but to frustrate and lower self-esteem. Sometimes they become self-fulfilling prophecies.

4. Disqualifying the Positive

Those who disqualify the positive turn the best things in life into something negative. Even if people achieve their goals, such as getting a good job, they may minimize their accomplishments, believing anyone could’ve done what they did. Another typical example is assuming someone issues a compliment only because they want something.

5. Jumping to Conclusions

Someone who jumps to conclusions does so without having all the necessary facts or considering other potential scenarios and ideas. For example, a person may arbitrarily conclude that someone dislikes them despite a lack of evidence. Or perhaps they assume something will go wrong, such as failing a test or getting passed for a promotion, to protect themselves from disappointment. 

Unhealthy thinking can infect every area of your life, leading to depression, anxiety, addictions, eating disorders, and other mental health issues. Identifying these patterns and becoming open to more realistic viewpoints can improve your self-esteem and relationships with others.  

Find Help at The Ranch TN

If you or a loved one struggles with unhealthy thoughts, turn to Recovery Ranch. We offer mental health treatment programs that help clients identify and change toxic thinking patterns. Our evidence-based therapies and medical care can address your underlying mental health issues and help you live a more fulfilling life. 

The Ranch offers comprehensive, personalized treatment that has clients’ best interests in mind. We provide a range of therapies, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and can tailor a care plan to meet your individual needs. Call us today at 1.844.876.7680 or fill out our online form to discover how you or someone you know can overcome unhealthy thinking.

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