Cognitive distortions are irrational thoughts that can influence our emotions. Everyone experiences cognitive distortions to some degree, but in their more extreme forms they can be maladaptive
Magnification and Minimization: Exaggerating or minimizing the importance of events. One might believe their own achievements are unimportant, or that their mistakes are excessively important.
Catastrophizing: Seeing only the worst possible outcomes of a situation.
Overgeneralization: Making broad interpretations from a single or few events. “I felt awkward during my first job interview. I am always so awkward.”
Magical thinking: The belief that acts will influence unrelated situations. “I am a good person—Bad things shouldn’t happen to me.”
Personalization: The belief that one is responsible for events outside of their own control. “My mother is always upset. It must be because I have not done enough to help her.”
Jumping to conclusions: Interpreting the meaning of a situation with little or no evidence.
Mind reading: Interpreting the thoughts and beliefs of others without adequate evidence. “She would not go on a date with me. She must think I am ugly.”
Fortune telling: The expectation that a situation will turn out badly without adequate evidence.
Emotional reasoning: The assumption that emotions reflect the way things really are. “I feel like a bad friend, therefore I must be a bad friend.”
Disqualifying the positive: Recognizing only negative aspects of a situation while ignoring the positive. One might receive many compliments on an evaluation but focus on the single piece of negative feedback.
Should statements: The belief that things should be a certain way. “I should always be friendly.”
All-or-nothing thinking: Thinking in absolutes such as “always”, “never”, or “every”. “I never do a good job on my work.”
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