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 Lesson Planner and the Mind Monster Cards, which includes 45 cognitive distortions and how to counter them.

Below is the All Or Nothing Thinking Card (included within the Adult ADHD Card Deck). I spent a couple of months reading The CBT Handbook, a massive 524-page book. After reading it, I thought cognitive distortion cards with mind monsters would be a more enjoyable way to learn cognitive behavioural therapy to overcome depression, anxiety, and anger.


All Or Nothing Thinking Black & White Thinking


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 Doodle

“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 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.”

I can because I’ve been an expert in All Or Nothing Thinking for most of my life. 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 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 have 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.

It’s as if missing a class turns your yoga mat into a one-way ticket to Sofa Yoga. But fear not—life happens, and so does the occasional missed Downward Dog.

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 Sherlock Holmes in our 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. Remember 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.

George’s Conclusion

George's 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.

My free Yoga Pose Directory has over 3000 yoga poses. So, if you want to practice a new yoga pose, head on over there and find one you like the look of.

If you like Yoga Stick Figures, I have a hunch you’ll like my Yoga Stick Figure Kit. It is the largest collection of premium-quality, royalty-free yoga stick figures online. it includes 1000+ of my famous “blue” yoga stick figures (that I use within my Online Yoga Lesson Planner) and 1000+ bonus yoga stick figures (in various colours and styles).

If you want to streamline your yoga lesson planning process, check out my online Yoga Genie Lesson Planner.

And hey, while you’re here, you might as well download 37 of my free Yoga lesson plans.


Download 37 Of My Yoga Lesson Plans For Free

Below are 37 free downloadable yoga lesson plans that I’ve created for my yoga classes using the Online Yoga Genie Lesson Planner. Feel free to use them for your own yoga classes or as inspiration for your own yoga class themes.

Become A Peaceful Warrior Yoga Lesson Plan

Caterpillar To Butterfly Yoga Lesson Plan

How Heavy Is This Glass Of Water Yoga Lesson Plan

Surrender To Slowness Yoga Lesson Plan

You Don’t Need Permission To Shine: Just Show Up, Shine & Be Yourself

Abiciously Delicious Core Yoga Lesson Plan

Chair Yoga Lesson Plan I 

Chair Yoga Lesson Plan II

Chair Yoga For Seniors Lesson Plan

Dolphin Yoga Lesson Plan

Sun Moon Yoga Lesson Plan

Sun Salutations Chair Yoga Lesson Plan

Sun Salutations A Yoga Lesson Plan

Sun Salutations B Yoga Lesson Plan

Sun Salutations C Yoga Lesson Plan

Camel Peak Pose Yoga Lesson Plan

Downward Facing Dog Pose Variations Lesson Plan

Plank Peak Pose Yoga Lesson Plan

Revolved Poses Yoga Lesson Plan

Twists-Themed Yoga Lesson Plan: 41 Twist Poses To Whip Your Student’s Cores Into Shape

Valentine Yoga Lesson Plan

Yoga for Cyclists Lesson Plan

Yoga for Swimmers Lesson Plan

Yoga For Seniors Lesson Plan

Hatha Yoga Lesson Plan

Kundalini Yoga Lesson Plan

Pregnancy Yoga Lesson Plan

Yoga Therapy: Arthritic Spine Yoga Lesson Plan

Yoga Therapy: Asthma Yoga Lesson Plan 

Yoga Therapy: Hips Yoga Lesson Plan

Yoga Therapy: Opening Upper Back, Neck & Shoulders Yoga Lesson Plan

Yoga Therapy: Restorative Yoga Lesson Plan

Yoga Therapy: Soothe Sciatica Yoga Lesson Plan

Yoga Therapy: Varicose Veins Yoga Lesson Plan

Yoga Pose Directory

3000+ yoga poses

Click Here