Cognitive distortions, one of the main concept of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT in short, refers to inaccurate way of thinking. These irrational thoughts and beliefs are usually reinforcing negative thinking and negative emotions. These negatives can lead to problematic emotional states and behavior, like anger, anxiety, low self-esteem, worry, depression as well as relationship problems.

The following are short expiation of the 10 most common cognitive distortions:

All-OR-NOTHING THINKING. You look at things in absolute, black-and-white categories.

OVERGENERALIZING. You view a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat.

MENTAL FILTER. You dwell on the negatives and ignore the positives. This is like the drop of ink that discolors the entire glass of water.

DISCOUNTING THE POSITIVES. You insist your positive qualities don’t count.

JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS. You jump to conclusions not warranted by the facts.

MIND-READING. You assume that people are reacting negatively to you.

FORTUNE-TELLING. You predict that things will turn out badly.

MAGNIFICATION OR MINIMIZATION. You blow things way out of proportion or shrink them.

EMOTIONAL REASONING. You reason from your feelings: “I feel like an idiot, so I must be one.” Or “I feel hopeless. This means I’ll never get better.”

SHOULD STATMENTS. You criticize yourself or other people with “shoulds,” “shouldn’ts,” “musts,” “oughts,” and “have tos.”

Self-Directed Shoulds lead to feelings of guilt and inferiority.

Other-Directed Shoulds lead to feelings of bitterness, anger and frustration.

LABELING. Instead of saying, “I made a mistake,” you tell yourself, “I’m a jerk” or “I’m a loser.”

Self-Blame and Other-Blame. You find fault instead of solving the problem.

Self-Blame. You blame yourself for something you weren’t entirely responsible for.

Other-Blame. You blame others and overlook ways you contributed to the problem.

By challenging and correcting these cognitive distortions while replacing them with accurate ones, you can decrease worrying and live life with a more positive outlook and lifestyle.
This is why it is important to learn about your cognitive errors, identifying them, be aware of them, so that you can change your thoughts to became more rational and objective and ultimately happier.


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