Shades of Gray


Many of us think in terms of black and white. If something can’t be done perfectly or with 100% effort, it’s not worth doing at all. It’s easier not to make a mistake and get by with just two choices, right? The psychological term for this behavior is “cognitive distortion,” and it sets us up for frustration and disappointment.
For example, I’ve had clients who tell me they don't have time to exercise. Ok, I get it, you can’t work out three or four times a week, but you CAN take the stairs instead of the elevator, or park farther away from the entrance, or do a plank while watching the news. Moving a little is better than not at all. Maybe you don't have the money for a full week’s vacation, but you don’t have to stay home—perhaps you can save up for a night or two at a place with a special rate.
My point is, we often think that things are either right or wrong. The problem with this all-or-nothing mindset is that it can disrupt the balance in our lives and keep us from experiencing peace and happinessMany psychologists believe a black-and-white attitude can lead not only to relationship problems, but to anxiety and depression as well.

Technique of the week: Think in shades of gray! Notice when you are viewing a problem or situation as black or white…STOP and say to yourself, “There are more ways of doing this.” Keep your end goal in mind and consider what else you can do to get there. Just because you had a slice of cake doesn’t mean your diet was a failure or that you should discount all those months of healthy eating. None of us is perfect and all we can do is keep an open mind and do our best!

Linda Fears