To the complete horror of the little girl and her grandma watching, a man picks up a blackish, four inch substance lying on the ground near his dog’s butt and happily takes a bite. The man looks up at them, smiles with a huge dark chunk visible between his teeth, and quickly registers their disgust.
What the little girl and her nana didn’t see was the man dropping a chocolate bar near his dog’s hind parts right before they looked. This Ameriquest Mortgage Company commercial ends with a reminder not to judge so quickly.
Yet your students jump to conclusions all the time to the detriment of their mental health. We can teach our students not to jump to conclusions about each other, about their worth, about their future.
Recognizing cognitive distortions is the first step to improving our well-being. Jumping To Conclusions (JTC) begins with Automatic Negative Thoughts.
These insidious invaders appear in our students’ heads and they believe them without examining or questioning their validity. Here are two common JTCs:
Fortune-Telling. They predict the future based on their fear of things not working out.
Mind-Reading. Not a psychic, but somehow the student knows what the other person is thinking. And what they are thinking is not good.
Not having the tools to interrupt their own thinking perpetuates these types of cognitive distortions. Cognitive awareness stops them in their tracks.
Being aware of your thinking in the moment is the gift that keeps on giving.
Doing the Slow Breath Practice© with your students helps them see their thoughts as separate from themselves, the observer. They learn to become a gate-keeper to their hearts and minds as they ask themselves these questions:
- Is this thought true?
- How do I know this thought is true?
- How has this thought served me in the past?
Observe, Question, Evaluate. Think on Purpose! Tell your students: Don’t jump!