My cat can't sleep - it must have anxiety problems!
Jumping to the wrong conclusion, regardless of the domain it occurs, happens when we conjure up a conviction that something is factual, when in reality it is just an imaginary mental hypothesis of what might be true.
The inference we make is often a result of our belief systems, and our experiences, and may be shaped by how we are feeling on the day. For example, just say you are in the workplace, and you notice some people laughing. If you believe you are unlikeable or that you donít fit in, you may deduct that people are laughing at you. This may also be the case if you have had painful past experiences, such as being bullied at school, or if you are feeling depressed, and therefore perceive things through a negative lens.
Suppose they are just laughing at a joke Ė or something else, but itís nothing to do with you. Just say you go and take your conviction that people are laughing at you as being one hundred percent fact, you will probably feel pretty bad very soon. You might avoid these people thinking they donít like you, or you may accuse someone of what you believe to be true. Either way, now not only do you feel bad, but relationships in one way or the other will be damaged.
The other parties may then go on to treat you differently Ė they may be hurt or confused, and sadly, what was fact might over time, if you continue to jump to the wrong conclusion, may turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy Ė not that they may start laughing at you, but they may walk on egg-shells around you, or even avoid you for fear of offending you. You may then jump to the same conclusion, but for another reason.
On the other hand, just say you saw these people laughing, and had some anxiety for whatever reason that you were being talked about. However, you decided to give the situation the benefit of the doubt and assume it wasnít about you. You may go up and say hello, and just say one of these people lets you in on the joke they were sharing! You can see how the outcome would be totally different! You save yourself a lot of mental torture, and your relationships donít suffer.
Another situation is just say you notice a mole on your skin and jump to conclusion that it is cancer. Again, the same kind of thing happens. You can either worry yourself to death, and let yourself suffer, you may also worry others, and you could be so distracted you canít focus on work or anything else. Or you could just make an appointment to see the doctor, and get reassurance or the mole removed.
Thereís enough to worry about in this world without imagining things. Next time you catch yourself jumping to conclusions tell yourself:
1. You can either treat it as absolute truth. However, unless youíre psychic, if youíre trying to create facts from invisible air, your hypothesis is nothing more than a conjuring up of your thoughts to create a reality that is true for you, but you only.
2.You can test it out if possible and get more reliable input
3.You can deal with the uncertainty, knowing thereís not everything we will always know about, but thatís just life. But, if itís going to cause you heartache and itís unrealistic, why put yourself through that?