How to stop Mind Reading (worrying what others think)

Hi Guys! Today I am writing about Mind Reading. We often worry about what other people think, and predict what they are thinking at that time, this is called the mind reading thinking error. When the truth is, it is impossible to know what other people are thinking.

When we mind read we often assume that others are thinking in judgemental and disapproving ways about us. These assumptions can lead to all sorts of difficulties such as social anxiety or relationship ruptures.

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Examples of mind reading is as follows:

  • You are walking down the street with a new hairdo, you notice people looking at you as you walk by. Your first initial thought is: “Everybody is staring at your new hairdo in horror, I must look terrible”.
  • Your eating alone in a coffee shop. Your first initial thought: “It looks like you have no friends, the guys behind the counter think your a loser”

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Try questioning your mind-reading before letting your thoughts run riot. For example:

  1. What are my mind-reading thoughts?
  1. What evidence do I have that this is what people are actually thinking?
  1. Is it possible that my mind reading may be wrong?
  1. What are some alternative explanations for my assumptions?
  1. What can I tell myself to STOP my mind reading?

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Other people’s opinion are not facts

It’s important to remember that even if someone does think or say something negative about you, it doesn’t make it a fact. Just because one person may reject you in some way, it doesn’t make you unlikable or unlovable, or a bad person.

That person has formed an opinion about you, but that does not mean that they have objectively assessed your character based on facts. It is just their opinion.

We can’t please everyone all of the time

You can’t please all of the people all of the time because you are not responsible for how other people feel. You can only control how you feel.

Not pleasing others doesn’t make you a bad person. That is why it is important to focus on your own happiness as that is the only one you can control.

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Niamh-Psychotherapist xx

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