No, it’s not some artificial intelligence-powered guitar effect. But cognitive distortions can really rock your ability to get a good night’s rest.
In this episode, I discuss certain patterns of thinking - dysfunctional and maladaptive cognitive distortions - that can turn a bad night even worse, and pour cold water on an already difficult sleep experience.
Our brains are not limited to only thinking true, realistic, and well-serving thoughts. Quite the opposite - the elasticity of our thinking is the mechanism of creativity, invention, and adaptation.
We explored this concept back in Episode 9 on why our brains gift us with the heritage of mind-racing in the first place. And that we, all of us, have a negativity bias. You are not broken!
It's a classic type 1 error - better to assume the worst, be overly cautious and avoid the rustling in the bushes and survive, rather than assume every rustling in the bushes is just the wind and end up as lunch!
These cognitive distortions are the patterns of misleading thoughts that are the foundation for dysfunctional beliefs about sleep. And thankfully, simply by making adjustments to our behavior alone, such as the timing of our use of the bed itself - that behavioral adjustment can reap benefits for our emotional and thinking patterns as well.
But some dysfunctional beliefs may be more resistant to an improvement in sleep efficiency and may need to be tackled head on.
And with the use of a tool like a brain dump, we not only facilitate the winding down process to get us in a better place to sleep, not only slow down thoughts that may be racing, but that thought record provides us an opportunity for assessment - to identify any potentially maladaptive patterns like: catastrophizing; magnifying or minimizing; all-or-nothing thinking; personalization; mind-reading; fortune-telling; overgeneralizing; and labeling.
Rate how strongly you believe these thoughts, and evaluate any evidence for or against their veracity and whether that thought is helping or hurting your ability to live the life you want to live.