Is my thinking normal?
This is a question we all ask ourselves at times. I know I have had moments where I have questioned my sanity and wondered if I have completely lost the plot. This is usually as a result of some overwhelming emotional experience. I find when emotions are involved, my thoughts tend to be far less rational.
If you would like to test out your thoughts, try the Dysfunctional Attitudes Scale:
This questionnaire lists different attitudes or beliefs which people sometimes hold. Read each statement carefully and decide how much you agree or disagree with the statement. For each of the attitudes, indicate to the left of the item the number that best describes how you think. Be sure to choose only one answer for each attitude. Because people are different, there is no right answer or wrong answer to these statements.
To decide whether a given attitude is typical of your way of looking at things, simply keep in mind what you are like most of the time.
1 = Totally agree 2 = Agree very much 3 = Agree slightly 4 = Neutral 5 = Disagree slightly 6 = Disagree very much 7 = Totally disagree _____
1. It is difficult to be happy unless one is good looking, intelligent, rich, and creative. _____
2. Happiness is more a matter of my attitude towards myself than the way other people feel about me. _____
3. People will probably think less of me if I make a mistake. _____
4. If I do not do well all the time, people will not respect me. _____
5. Taking even a small risk is foolish because the loss is likely to be a disaster. _____
6. It is possible to gain another person’s respect without being especially talented at anything. _____
7. I cannot be happy unless most people I know admire me. _____
8. If a person asks for help, it is a sign of weakness. _____
9. If I do not do as well as other people, it means I am a weak person. _____
10. If I fail at my work, then I am a failure as a person. _____
11. If you cannot do something well, there is little point in doing it at all. _____
12. Making mistakes is fine because I can learn from them. _____
13. If someone disagrees with me, it probably indicates he does not like me. _____
14. If I fail partly, it is as bad as being a complete failure. _____
15. If other people know what you are really like, they will think less of you. _____
16. I am nothing if a person I love doesn’t love me. _____
17. One can get pleasure from an activity regardless of the end result _____
18. People should have a chance to succeed before doing anything. Revised date (4 October 2006) 56 _____
19. My value as a person depends greatly on what others think of me. _____
20. If I don’t set the highest standards for myself, I am likely to end up a second-rate person. _____
21. If I am to be a worthwhile person, I must be the best in at least one way. _____
22. People who have good ideas are better than those who do not. _____
23. I should be upset if I make a mistake. _____
24. My own opinions of myself are more important than others’ opinions of me. _____
25. To be a good, moral, worthwhile person I must help everyone who needs it. _____
26. If I ask a question, it makes me look stupid. _____
27. It is awful to be put down by people important to you. _____
28. If you don’t have other people to lean on, you are going to be sad. _____
29. I can reach important goals without pushing myself. _____
30. It is possible for a person to be scolded and not get upset. _____
31. I cannot trust other people because they might be cruel to me. _____
32. If others dislike you, you cannot be happy. _____
33. It is best to give up your own interests in order to please other people. _____
34. My happiness depends more on other people than it does on me. _____
35. I do not need the approval of other people in order to be happy. _____
36. If a person avoids problems, the problems tend to go away. _____
37. I can be happy even if I miss out on many of the good things in life. _____
38. What other people think about me is very important. _____
39. Being alone leads to unhappiness. _____
40. I can find happiness without being loved by another person._______
Dysfunctional Attitude Scale (DAS) Author: Arlene Weissman
The DAS is a 40-item questionnaire that is designed to identify and measure cognitive distortions (irrational thinking), particularly distortions that may relate to or cause depression.
The items contained on the DAS are based on Beck’s cognitive therapy model and present 7 major value systems: Approval, Love, Achievement, Perfectionism, Entitlement, Omnipotence, and Autonomy.
Scoring: Any items that are missing, assign a zero. To obtain the overall score, simply add the score on all items (ranging from 1 to 7). When no items are omitted, scores on the DAS range from 40 to 280. Lower scores represent more adaptive beliefs and fewer cognitive distortions.
The higher your score, the more likely it is that your thinking is working against you and creating anxiety and depression. Be more aware of your thoughts and get into the habit of challenging their validity. Not every thought we think is true or is valid.