Challenging SATs

When we are stressed, our SATs are usually unfair and untrue. Some of the thinking errors we make include:


1. All or nothing thinking:
Seeing things as black or white with no middle ground or shades of grey. Either you do things perfectly or you’ve failed
e.g. If I scored 79/100 I’m a failure, but if I scored 80/100 I’ve done well.

3. Catastrophization:
Imagining the worst possible outcome e.g. Scoring 79/100 for a test meant that it is the start of a slippery slope and it is a matter of time before I get to 50/100 and then failing, and not being able to finish year 12.

6. Fortune telling:
Assuming you know what will happen in the future, and that it will be bad
e.g. Every time Kim sat down to study for her exams, she would think that no university would accept her anyway.

8. Personalisation: Assuming that bad things are related to you when there is little proof for doing so
e.g. Marcia visited her sister in hospital who later developed a virus. On hearing this, she believed she was responsible for infecting her and felt very guilty.

2. Overgeneralisation:
Believing that a single or small event is proof of a much bigger problem
e.g. Riley overcooked the pasta for her birthday party and thought that meant that the entire party is a flop.
4. Ignoring the positives:
Ignoring any positive experiences or turning a positive experience into a negative one
e.g. Someone praised Gina for her art work but she thinks that they are just being polite.

7. Emotional reasoning:
Assuming that because you feel something is bad, then it must be, without seeing if it is a true reflection of the situation
e.g. Because you feel stressed, it must mean that things are difficult or impossible.

9. Labelling: Calling yourself and others names that make you feel bad
e.g. “I’m an idiot”, “I’m a loser”
5. Mind Reading:
Assuming you know what another person is thinking, and that it is bad
e.g. Michelle was talking to a new friend and when she yawned, Michelle thought: “Oh god, she must be really bored and want to get away”, even though the new friend was truly interested and had been talking to her for the past 30minutes.
10. Shoulds and Musts: Setting strict rules and high standards, and feeling guilty when you can’t live up to them
e.g. I should only sleep after I have revised my notes three times.

Do you have any of these thinking errors frequently? If you do, it is important to looking at the actual proof before falling into the trap of SATs.