Mind-reading is one of the most common distortions, typical for negative thinking. Today you will learn how to stop it efficiently.
“I’d forgotten that human minds are easy to shatter as eggshells,” Rhysand said and ran a finger across the base of my throat. I shuddered, my eyes burning. “Look at how delightful she is – look how she’s trying not to cry out in terror. It would be quick, I promise.”
― Sarah J. Maas
What Are Mind-Reading And Projection
Wikipedia defines mind-reading in the following way: “Inferring a person’s possible or probable (usually negative) thoughts from their behavior and nonverbal communication; taking precautions against the worst reasonably suspected case or some other preliminary conclusion, without asking the person.definition of mind reading and projecting.”
Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others.
Let me give you an example. Tracy is facing with social anxiety. When she goes to a busy restaurant, negative thoughts instantly come to her mind. Because she is on the dole, she assumes that people will recognise it seeing what she orders.
The problem is that Tracy has a minority complex of being unemployed and she is projecting her lack of self-love to other people, thinking that they will treat her without respect.
5 Effective Ways to Stop Mind-Reading
So how can you stop mind-reading and projecting your minority complex or other kinds of negativity to other people? Below I will describe you the five tools, which used on a regular basis, will help you to eliminate this type of cognitive distortion.
1. Define the Reasons of Mind-Reading
Mind-reading and projecting are negative thought patterns that occur automatically and fuel all kinds of anxiety, especially the social one. However, that does not mean that you are doomed to be a prisoner of your own thoughts. To fight the enemy, you need to meet him first.
Answer the question below. List at least 20 reasons and to this exercise in writing:
Why do I assume that people will treat or talk about me in a bad way?
What have you discovered? Probably all your fears that are hidden inside your mind. The core answer which is probably hidden underneath your thinking is: I’m not worthy. I do not deserve respect.” Now you have found the root of your thinking – a negative belief that has to be changed.
You may also discover that you read other people’s mind because of your childhood, because of having been treated badly by someone in the past. The trauma has generated your belief which impedes your social life today.
2. Observe Your Reaction
Mind-reading causes negative symptoms in your body and accelerates the fear which already exists. You may be sweating, turning red, feeling tense and uncomfortable. Moreover, you might think that all the people see your reactions.When the symptoms appear, test if it’s really true that everybody understands your fear.
When the symptoms appear, test if it’s really true that everybody sees your fear. Regular paying attention to the symptoms of your negative thinking and the mind-reading, in particular, will enable you to find the ways of controlling these sensations.
3. Sart Recording Your Thoughts and Sensations
I don’t mean using a dictaphone here. What I mean is doing a daily log, where you write what you have noticed. Having a log, you will be able to notice how often you read other people’s mind when it happens and what has caused these thoughts.
Buy a diary or a notebook. Draw some columns which will be titled: Situation, My Thoughts (only those with the mind-reading distortion, although I encourage you to write all your negative thoughts), My Feelings/Sensations.
Do your log every day for thirty days. After a week, look at your notes and try to identify the most typical thoughts, feelings and what repeats the most often. These will be your challenges to work on later.
4. Use the STOPP technique
STOPP is the cognitive-behavioural therapy in a nutshell. Learn this one SKILL and you can start to take control of your emotions and your life. There are five stages you go through while working with mind-reading
STOP. In other words, just stop for a moment. No assuming, reasoning or anything else, just discontinue your thinking.
Take a Breath. Breathing is a great tool to fight anxious thoughts because you focus on your body and the present instead of generating negativity. Take five breaths. Inhale each of them for seconds, then hold your breath for the same amount of time and then exhale, again for 15 seconds. After the fifth breath, your mind will calm down
Observe. Now time has come to notice your thoughts, focus of attention and reactions. It will be also easier for you to recognise your sensations in your body.
Pull Back. Now you can try to find a different perspective of your mind reading. Here are some questions which you can ask:
- What thoughts are going through your mind right now?
- Where is your focus of attention?
- What sensations do you notice in your body?
Practise What Works. Now you can decide what kind of action to take, the action which works, which will eliminate mind-reading.
5. Question Your Thoughts
Questioning negative thoughts is one of the tools which I have described in my latest book, “Awaken Mega Happiness”. You can break any kind of negative thoughts, not only mind-reading.
Having done your log or just having caught red-handed while mind-reading, answer these questions:
- What is the worst thing that can happen if they think of me this way?
- How important will this opinion be in a months’ year’s time?
- What would my best friend say to my thoughts?
These are only three of many questions which you can ask to question your negative thoughts.
How do you face mind-reading?
I’d like to hear from you, so please leave your comment under this post. You can help and inspire other people. Thank you