Catastrophising, jumping to conclusions, shoulding and musting… we can all fall into these thinking styles at times, and they can become a habit.

In times of stress, your auto-pilot thoughts may be popping in more often. To recognise them, read on here about 10 unhelpful thinking styles.

Once recognised, quashing thoughts can be tricky. Like trying not to think of a white bear.


An indirect workaround is to challenge the beliefs that lead to the thought. Thought challenging isn’t about positive thinking. It’s about stopping to fact-check that thought, and weigh up the evidence

1. Identify the unhelpful thought

2. Ask yourself a challenging question

  • What is the factual evidence for and against this thought?
  • How might someone else view the situation?
  • How can I find out if what I’m thinking is actually true?

For further help

If unhelpful thoughts are persisting and causing you distress, talk about it with your doctor or a mental health professional. Many providers are offering phone or video appointments.

In WA, Helping Minds are currently providing 3 free phone or video counselling sessions with a mental health professional. Click here for details.

For 24/7 support, you can talk to a Lifeline Crisis Supporter on 13 11 14.

Image credit: Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash
Image credit: Photo by Bao Menglong on Unsplash