Perception versus Reality
I was motivated to write this post and film the accompanying video after witnessing so many of my students overwrought by feelings of inadequacy regarding their body image and self worth.
There was no doubt that in reality they were healthy and whole, but in their minds, they believed the opposite.
The following is a set of questions that challenge irrational perceptions and cognitive distortions using reality itself.
The inquiry is not limited to body image and weight and thus can be applied in any areas where you find yourself caught in a repetitive thought loop.
Reality Testing Homework:
- How do I know if this thought is accurate?
- What evidence do I have to support this thought or belief?
- How can I test my assumptions/beliefs to find out if they’re accurate?
- Do I have a trusted friend whom I can check out these thoughts with?
- Is this thought helpful?
- Are there other ways that I can think about this or myself?
- Is it really in my control?
- Am I overgeneralizing?
- Am I making assumptions?
- What would I say to a friend in this situation?
- Can I look for “shades of gray”?
- Am I assuming the worst?
- Am I holding myself to an unreasonable standard?
- Are there exceptions to these absolutes (always, never)?
- Am I making this personal when it isn’t?
Source: Challenging Cognitive Distortions
Related Research & Articles
1. Past visual experiences weigh in on body size estimation. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-18418-3#Sec2
2. The image in the mirror and the number on the scale: Weight, Weight Perceptions, and Adolescent Depressive Symptoms. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3610322/
3. Perception versus reality of body weight: Which matters most. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0165032713002905
4. How social media contributes to body dysmorphia. https://www.thelexingtonline.com/blog/2018/5/7/how-social-media-contributes-to-body-dysmorphic-behaviors
What are your perceptual filters?
Rose coloured? Perfectionist? Overachiever?
How often do you TEST reality?
Do you believe everything you think?