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What are Cognitive Distortions?

Cognitive distortions, also known as thinking errors or thinking traps, are patterns of thinking that can lead to negative emotions, behaviours, and beliefs. These distortions can be subtle and automatic, making them difficult to recognize and challenge. However, by becoming aware of cognitive distortions and learning to challenge them, individuals can improve their mental health and well-being.


Here are some common cognitive distortions:


1. All-or-Nothing Thinking: This type of thinking involves seeing things in black and white terms, with no room for shades of grey. For example, thinking "If I don't get an A on this test, I'm a complete failure."


2. Overgeneralization: This involves making broad, sweeping statements based on one or a few incidents. For example, thinking "I always mess things up" after making one mistake.


3. Mental Filtering: This involves focusing only on negative aspects of a situation and ignoring any positive aspects. For example, focusing only on the one negative comment in a sea of positive feedback.


4. Jumping to Conclusions: This involves making assumptions without evidence or jumping to conclusions based on limited information. For example, assuming that someone doesn't like you because they didn't say hello.


5. Catastrophizing: This involves exaggerating the negative consequences of a situation and imagining the worst-case scenario. For example, thinking "If I fail this exam, I'll never get into college and my life will be ruined."


6. Personalization: This involves taking responsibility for things that are outside of one's control. For example, thinking "It's all my fault that my friend is upset, I should have known better."


7. Emotional Reasoning: This involves believing that one's emotions are evidence of reality. For example, thinking "I feel like a failure, so I must be a failure."


It's important to recognize these cognitive distortions and challenge them by asking questions such as "Is this thought really true?" or "What evidence do I have to support this thought?" By doing so, individuals can develop more balanced and accurate thinking patterns, leading to improved mental health and well-being.


It's important to seek help from a mental health professional if cognitive distortions are interfering with daily life. Claim your free consult today.

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