Your brain is telling you lies!
Our mind tricks us with thoughts that are based on what we may believe, feel, and continuously think. These faulty thought patterns, known as Cognitive Distortions, cause us to feel unnecessary emotional pain and discomfort.
If you feel anxious or depressed, or experience low self-esteem or self-doubt, Cognitive Distortions are distorting your perception. Cognitive Distortions reflect flawed thinking. They create negative filters that distort your reality, creating stress, anxiety, and overwhelm.
Being aware of which Cognitive Distortions may be present helps improve your emotional resiliency, and enhances your capacity to be emotionally satisfied.
So what are Cognitive Distortions?
Cognitive Distortions were identified by Aaron Beck in 1976, and are any faulty thinking. Cognitive Distortions include All-or-Nothing Thinking, Overgeneralization, Magnification or Minimization, Magical Thinking, Personalization, Jumping to Conclusions, Emotional Reasoning, Filtering the Positive, Should-ing Yourself, Labeling, Mind Reading, Fortune Telling, Catastrophizing, and Self-Blaming or Other-Blaming.
- thinking in absolutes such as ‘always’, never’, or ‘every’ i.e. “I never do anything right”
- making general interpretations based on a single event i.e. “Everyone hates me”
Magnification or Minimization:
- magnifying negative things in a situation or minimizing the importance of situations i.e. “I totally ruined everything”
- the belief that acts will influence an unrelated situation i.e. “I think something bad will happen, then it will”
- the belief that you are responsible for events outside of your control i.e. “If I had done this one thing, this other thing would not have happened”
Jumping to Conclusions:
- interpreting the meaning of situations with little to no evidence i.e. “My friend didn’t text me today so she must be mad at me”
- believing that our emotions reflect the way things really are i.e. “I feel stupid so I must be stupid”
Filtering the Positive:
- recognizing only the negative aspects of a situation while ignoring the positive i.e. “Everything I do is awful”
- a certain way, or that you ‘should’ do something i.e. “I should try harder”
- attaching a label to yourself or someone else i.e. “I’m such an idiot”
- believing that you know what someone else is thinking i.e. “Candice thinks I’m stupid because I messed up the meeting time again”
- the tendency to make conclusions and predictions based on little to no evidence i.e. “I’m going to fail my exam because I don’t know enough”
- exaggerating or minimizing the meaning, importance, or likelihood of things i.e. “My car is old so it’s going to break down soon”
Self-Blaming or Other-Blaming:
- you blame yourself, or someone else for a situation that in reality involved many factors and was out of your control i.e. “It’s my fault that the deal fell through”
We ALL have Cognitive Distortions so it’s completely normal to resonate with a few of them. The important thing about Cognitive Distortions is recognizing them. Choosing awareness is the first step in flipping the switch on faulty thinking. Only when you become aware, can you actually make any change.