Idea repair, called “cognitive restructuring” in the psychological literature, is a powerful tool for feeling better and for making it much easier to make good choices. We may hardly notice it, but it’s human habit to constantly comment about what’s going on around us with thoughts that help us make judgments and put things into a framework we can understand. But some of these comments are harmful to us because they’re misleading or even false. They encourage us to make bad choices, keep negative emotions going, and generally get in the way: these are broken ideas (or “cognitive distortions”). Here are some of the key articles on this site that for understanding broken ideas and learning idea repair.
“Broken ideas and idea repair” explains what broken ideas and idea repair are, why they’re valuable, and the basics of how to use idea repair.
“How to Detect Broken Ideas” demonstrates how to notice when broken ideas are causing trouble and how to find out what kind of broken idea you’re dealing with.
“Examples of Broken Ideas (Cognitive Distortions)” shows the categories of broken ideas and some typical broken ideas for each category.
“How to Repair a Broken Idea, Step by Step” provides a guide to repairing broken ideas.
To get some perspective on broken ideas, you might be interested in reading “What Really Messed-Up Thinking Looks Like.”
For a better understanding of “should statements,” see ‘Good “should” and bad “should”.’
Broken ideas that we latch onto a lot early in life can become ingrained as mental schemas. To learn about these, see the resource page on mental schemas.
Idea repair is useful in a lot of different situations, and it comes up in quite a number of articles on this site. Here’s a link to all Willpower Engine articles on broken ideas.