There’s a concept in psychology called black and white thinking.

It’s a mentality where generally, an individual tends to categorize everything into one of two categories.

What does this sound like?

I FAILED my test. I have NO friends. NO ONE cares. I’ll NEVER get it. I’m ALWAYS wrong. I’m a bad student.

Or on the other side…

I ACED my test. I’m friends with EVERYBODY. I ALWAYS just know. I LOVE *idk* tomatoes (unless they’re like you’re favorite food in the entire world… be my guest LOL).

I honestly think a lot of us tend to do this. So no, I’m not saying you’re mentally ill and need therapy if you think this way. I think we all do this sometimes to a certain extent when we’re super excited or sad or just feeling strong emotions.

But I do mention it because thinking this way too often can be harmful to your mental health.

If every test you get an 89% on is a failure, or you’re a terrible person for showing up late to work one minute late ONE TIME… can you imagine what your overall perspective of yourself, of you as a person, would be?

I think you’d actually end up believing you’re a failure and a terrible person who is never good enough, when really… you’re getting almost straight As and are on time to work 95% of the time.

It’s hard. I understand.

It’s actually pretty common with people who struggle with depression, anxiety, and eating disorders to name a few.

For eating disorders specifically, it looks like “I can’t eat anything for dinner because I ate too much for lunch” or “I gained 5 pounds, I’m FAT” or “I binged/purged/restricted on meal… I’m a failure and don’t deserve recovery”. (Now I know sometimes these thoughts also come up during dieting too… so I will do an article later on the distinctions between dieting and eating disorders. Although generally, I believe dieting in itself is unnecessary unless for medical health reasons… )

Anyhow, just some food for thought.

Changing the way you think takes time (you’re literally reconstructing the way your brain neurons are connecting!!) so be gentle with yourself. It’s okay to mess up sometimes. You’re not alone (I’m still working on this too). Its a simple as a simple thought challenge. Are you calling yourself bad or a failure again? Think objectively… are you really? Would your best friend or someone who really cares about you agree? Or are you just being super hard on yourself again…

And like I said, we all tend to do this sometimes and it’s OKAY. We’re human. There’s always room for growth, and we can all use tips to take care of our mental health.