THOUGHT TRAPS: When you get caught in the trap of negative thinking

Do you have the experience to think in a negative way sometimes? That means you are probably trapped in a thought trap.

Some of the thinking traps are the following:

Negative glasses – they allow you to see only one part of everything that is happening, the negative ones. Then you can hardly see the good or the positive things that are happening, you mostly ignore or overlook them.

The positive does not count – because of this view, the positive things that do happen are dismissed as irrelevant or diminished in value.

Inflatable – It lets the little negative things that happen get bigger than they really are.

Predicting that bad things will happen – in a way that you think you know what others think (you read their mind) and think you know what will happen (you foresee the future).

“Just because we think about something doesn’t mean it will happen.”

It is interesting that, for the most part, bad things are believed to be achievable, and we do not think we will win a lottery or a five on an item just because we thought about it.


How to reconsider your thoughts?

You can really get caught in the trap of negative thinking by checking your thoughts very easily. It can also help you find some positive things that you may have ignored or overlooked, as well as realize that there may be another way of thinking about things.


Here’s what you can do to check your thoughts:

  1. Write down the negative thoughts you have.
  2. Write down any evidence to support these thoughts.
  3. Give all the evidence that is questioning these thoughts.
  4. Ask yourself what your friend or other trusted person would say when he or she heard your thoughts.
  5. What would you say to a friend or person you care about if they have such thoughts.

Ultimately, when you’ve done all of the above, think about a more balanced and meaningful way to think about it?

Test your thoughts with an experiment!

Sometimes it is convenient and useful to conduct experiments to check your thoughts and see if what you think will actually happen.


The experiment requires you to write down:

  1. Your thoughts
  2. An experiment that you could perform to check them out
  3. Your prediction, that is, the expectations that you think will happen
  4. What really happened.


Why is this important?

It is important to learn to recognize our thoughts, especially those that are negative, critical, and disturbing, because such thoughts can provoke and inspire feelings such as anxiety, worry, timidity, apathy, fatigue, and we tend to give up when facing the demands and challenges of life prone to further negative thoughts as well as develop a negative ie bad image of oneself as a person after which it is difficult for us to get out of the vicious circle of negativity.

In such situations, we often direct our actions and behaviors with our thinking and expectations to achieve exactly what we assumed would happen, which are our negative expectations.

Resist negative thoughts


You can learn to resist negative thoughts, but first you need to discover them and find out what negative trap you have fallen into.

  1. If you have negative glasses, learn to stand, look again, and find the positive things you overlooked or ignored.
  2. If you think that the positive is not counting, learn to accept and acknowledge your successes.
  3. If you inflate things, learn to prevent these things from upsetting and stop them until they get too big.
  4. If you predict that something bad is going to happen, stop looking at your crystal ball and check what is really going on.


If you manage to turn negative and useless thoughts into positive and useful thoughts, thinking about things in a more positive way can help you deal with unpleasant emotions such as anxiety, worry, fear.

By: Renata Ćorić Špoljar, PhD, clinical psychologist

Disclaimer: This is unofficial translation provided for information purposes. Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center can not be held legally responsible for any translation inaccuracy.   

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