“Cognitive Distortions- When Your Thoughts Are Hurting You”- Part 3

As we discussed in the previous post, there are several common cognitive distortions that many of us use to cope with life’s trials. Please read below for the continuation of that list:

4. Disqualifying the Positive– This is an extreme example of turning positive events into negative ones. When positive things happen, the person says that they “don’t count” and finds a way to turn them into something negative. This cognitive distortion can be a way to express a negative self-image. This is a way of blocking out the richness that your life experience can bring.

5. Jumping to Conclusions– You make a negative interpretation of an event, even though there is no real evidence to support this conclusion. There are two variations of jumping to conclusions:

Fortune Telling– This is where you anticipate that things will turn out badly and act as if they have already turned out that way. Your actions then become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Mind Reading– Without checking it out by talking to the person or seeking other evidence, you arbitrarily conclude that someone is acting negatively toward you.

6. Magnification and Minimization– Magnification happens when you blow a negative event out of proportion. Minimization is the opposite process, where you look at your strengths and then trivialize them. Both of these processes take us out of touch with the reality of a situation and interfere with good decision making.

7. Emotional Reasoning– This happens when you let your emotions guide you as if they reflect the reality of a situation. When people feel depressed, they use their feelings (which are often negative) as their guide rather than doing a good reality check. It is more helpful to check the reality of your perceptions even if your intense emotions make things seem real.

8. Should Statements– This also includes “must” and “ought” statements. We motivate ourselves by talking about things that we “should” do- but the consequence is that we end up feeling pressured, guilty, and resentful. Paradoxically, we then feel unmotivated and apathetic when we don’t live up to our unrealistic expectations. When we apply these statements to other people, we include that other people aren’t living up to our expectations of them, and this leads to our losing respect for them.

9. Labeling– Our lives are complex and constantly changing. The definitions we place on ourselves in one situation might not be appropriate for a different situation. When we label ourselves or other people, we apply a simplistic and unfair definition that is probably wrong, or more likely, incomplete. We fail to appreciate the full complexity of life when we apply simplistic labels.

10. Personalization– You see yourself as the cause of negative events that you are not responsible for. When something bad happens, you assume that it is your fault. This cognitive distortion leads to a feeling of personal guilt.