All Or Nothing Thinking Is Cognitive Distortion That Is Common In People With Adult ADHD
Greetings, my lovely Yogis, Yoginis, and Yoga teachers. I’m George Watts, a BWY yoga teacher and creator of the online Yoga Genie Lesson Planner.
Shhhh, don’t tell anyone this…
I’m a prolific Doodler.
Until recently, I’ve kept most of my Yoga Teacher Doodles locked away in my Doodle Diary. Doodling has been my secret hobby for years. But I had a hunch that maybe my fellow Yoga teachers, especially new ones, might like to peer into a Yoga Teacher’s Doodle Diary. I can think of no better way to pry into the mind of a Yoga Teacher than to flip through their diary, especially if that diary is full of doodles.
Here is a doodle from my “yoga diary”…
Cognitive Distortion: All Or Nothing Thinking…A Doodle By George
“All or nothing thinking is a negative thinking pattern common in people with Adult ADHD. You may also know it as BLACK AND WHITE thinking. It’s the inability to see alternatives (gray) in a situation. The end or maybe it’s the start of a positive thinking pattern.”
In the next section, I imagine myself teaching a yoga class for Adult ADHD students.
“Hey George, Can You Tell Me More About All Or Nothing Thinking?
Below I imagine myself teaching yoga to a class full of Adult ADHD students and having someone yell out: “Hey George, can you tell me more about all-or-nothing thinking.”
Absolutely, I can. Because I’ve been an expert in “all or nothing thinking” for most of my life because I went 48 years before being diagnosed with Adult ADHD. So, let’s gather in a circle and dive deep into the world of “All or Nothing Thinking,” or as I like to call it, the art of painting your mental canvas in only two shades: black and white.
An Example Of All Or Nothing Thinking
Let’s start off with an example…
All-or-nothing thinking is like deciding the entire yoga class is ruined just because you toppled over in Tree Pose. So, buckle up your yoga belts, because we’re about to embark on a journey through the whimsical wilderness of the mind!
Black And White Palette
Now, my lovely ADHD warriors, let’s kick things off with a gentle warm-up.
Picture this: you’re in a room full of rainbows, each representing a different possibility, and you’ve got a brush in your hand. But oh no, there’s a slight hiccup – your palette only has two colours, black and white. That, my yogi buddy, is the essence of “All or Nothing Thinking.” It’s like living in a world where you believe you’re either a yoga guru or a yoga catastrophe.
Imagine this scenario…
You’re attempting a challenging pose, perhaps the elusive peacock pose. As you wobble and teeter, the All or Nothing Mind kicks in. You either envision yourself soaring through the yoga heavens like a majestic peacock, or you’re convinced you’ve just become a human Jenga tower, collapsing in a heap of defeat. There’s no middle ground, no spectrum of colours – just the stark contrast of success or failure.
Now, let’s take a moment to breathe in the absurdity of this thinking pattern.
Inhale deeply, and exhale any notions of perfection.
Beautiful Blend of Shades, Hues, and Inevitable Wobbles
Life, much like yoga, is a beautiful blend of shades, hues, and inevitable wobbles. Embracing the grey area is like realizing that sometimes you’ll gracefully execute a pose, and other times you might collapse in a heap – and that’s okay!
Picture yourself on a yoga mat, surrounded by a sea of options. Each asana is a unique colour on the palette of your practice. But with All or Nothing Thinking, you might find yourself thinking,
“If I can’t do the most advanced pose, then why bother doing yoga at all?”
That’s like saying…
“If I can’t cook a gourmet meal, I might as well eat cardboard.”
Let’s be honest; cardboard isn’t very nice.
Desire for Certainty in an Uncertain World
Now, let’s delve into the roots of this black-and-white jungle.
All or Nothing Thinking often springs from the desire for certainty in an uncertain world. It’s the mind’s attempt to simplify the chaos into neat little boxes. But life, much like our poses, is messy. It’s not about being a perfect yogi – it’s about finding joy in the journey, even if that journey involves a few unexpected detours.
Take a moment to reflect on a recent yoga class.
Did you find yourself thinking,
“If I miss one session, my entire yoga journey is doomed!”
That’s All or Nothing Thinking sneaking into your headspace.
Now, let’s infuse a dose of humour into this exploration…
Binary Benny Sees the World Through the Lens of Extremes
Imagine All or Nothing Thinking as a quirky character in a cosmic comedy. This character, let’s call him “Binary Benny,” sees the world through the lens of extremes. Benny believes that you’re either the ultimate yogi or destined to live in yoga exile, surviving solely on a diet of kale and regret.
So, how do we tame this wild beast of binary thinking?
We can try to become the Sherlock Holmes of our own minds, detecting the sneaky presence of All or Nothing Thinking. Picture yourself as a yoga detective, magnifying glass in hand, examining each thought with the curiosity of a child.
When you catch Binary Benny trying to convince you that missing a single yoga session transforms you into a yoga dropout, respond with a gentle giggle. Remind yourself that life is a dazzling array of experiences, and skipping a class doesn’t erase your yoga journey. It’s like thinking that missing a single puzzle piece ruins the whole picture. It doesn’t.
Now, let’s sprinkle in a pinch of mindfulness.
I’m a Work in Progress
As you flow through your poses, notice the whispers of All or Nothing Thinking trying to sneak in. Instead of letting it hijack your mental playlist with thoughts like “I must master this pose immediately,” switch to a more forgiving tune.
How about a melody that goes…
“I’m a work in progress, and that’s superbly splendid”?
In the grand tapestry of life, my radiant rebels, there’s room for every shade between black and white. Each wobble, each stumble, and each giggle adds a stroke to the masterpiece of your existence. So, the next time Binary Benny tries to convince you that you’re either a yoga rockstar or a yoga disaster, simply respond with a playful wink and say,
“Benny, I’m a work in progress, and that’s superbly splendid”?
Next up, is my conclusion.
In conclusion, let’s celebrate the rainbow of experiences that make our yoga journey uniquely ours. All or Nothing Thinking may try to convince us otherwise, but we’re here to prove that life, much like yoga, is a vibrant mosaic of shades, shapes, and the occasional goofy grin.
So, embrace the grey areas, relish the in-between moments, and embrace the work-in-progress.
Oh yes, I almost forgot…
You might like my Adult ADHD Yoga Lesson Plan Bundle.
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And hey, while you’re here, you might as well get your hands on 37 of my free Yoga lesson plans.
Get Your Yogic Hands On 37 Of My Free Yoga Lesson Plans
Below are 37 free downloadable yoga lesson plans that I’ve created for my own yoga classes using the Online Yoga Genie Lesson Planner. Feel free to use them for your own yoga classes, or as inspiration to come up with your own yoga class themes.