fyi:distortions

All or Nothing Thinking ๐ŸŒ“

This distortion happens when we have no room for middle ground. If we think that a small fault in ourselves means weโ€™re fundamentally rotten or otherwise terrible, weโ€™re likely engaging in All or Nothing Thinking.

Example

I failed this interview, so I'll fail all my interviews.

Similar distortions

All or Nothing Thinking is really similar to Overgeneralization. They both happen when we take one small problem and extrapolate it out.

Catastrophizing ๐Ÿคฏ

If weโ€™re taking a small problem and blowing it way out of proportion, weโ€™re Catastrophizing. Did you make a small mistake at work and are dreading if someone found out even though itโ€™s nothing serious? Youโ€™re probably catastrophizing.

Examples

Often this cognitive distortion is a series of thoughts, one after the other.

I took too long to answer that interview question
Because I took too long, I'll bet I failed the interview.
Because I failed this one, I'll probably fail all interviews I get.
Because I'll fail all my interviews, I'm probably just bad at this career and I should give up.

Similar distortions

Catastrophizing is similar to Minimization of the Positive and Magnification of the Negative.

Some mental health professionals call this "making a mountain out of a molehill."

Emotional Reasoning ๐ŸŽญ

"I feel it, therefore it must be true."

If we find ourselves justifying the "danger" of something innocuous because weโ€™re afraid of it, then weโ€™re likely engaging in Emotional Reasoning. Things arenโ€™t dangerous because weโ€™re afraid of them and weโ€™re not awful just because we may think we are.

This one is often hard to recognize. It takes some effort to recognize when your emotional mind is taking the logical reins.

Examples

I feel guilty, therefore I must have done something bad.
I feel scared, therefore this must be dangerous.

Similar Distortions

Emotional Reasoning is common when were also Fortune Telling. Frequently, we'll use our own emotions to justify our predictions.

Fortune Telling ๐Ÿ”ฎ

Fortune Telling happens when we try to predict the future. If we're worried something will happen, we're fortune telling.

We often overestimate our abilities to predict what will happen. This can happen when we start at something we're worried might happen and then look for evidence that it will occur.

If we're worried the plane we're on will crash, we may take any scratch on the wing or strange tone in the pilots announcement as proof of our concern.

Examples

The plane I'm about to get on will crash.
I'll fail this interview.
I'll get sick at this party.

Similar Distortions

Mind Reading is similar to Fortune Telling since it often requires you to believe information that you have no way of knowing.

Magnification of the Negative ๐Ÿ‘Ž

If we're judging a situation based entirely on the negative parts and not considering the positive parts, we're likely magnifying the negative. If weโ€™re constantly berating ourselves for bombing a job interview, we're probably filtering out all the experience we gained from that interview.

Examples

I ate healthy this week, but I skipped the run I had planned.

Similar Distortions

Often Magnification of the Negative can lead to Catastrophizing. It also shares a lot with it's counterpart: Minimization of the Positive.

Labeling ๐Ÿท

If we're taking one characteristic of a person and applying it to the whole person, we're Labeling. If someone brushed us off, they might not be a "jerk," maybe they're just in a hurry. This applies to ourselves as well; just because we make a mistake doesn't mean we're a "failure."

Example

I failed a test, so I'm a bad student.

Similar Distortions

Labeling can often come from Should Statements, since often when we think someone should be a certain way, we're also labeling them.

Mind Reading ๐Ÿง 

If we're worried about what someone else is thinking about us, we're Mind Reading. Unless someone tells you what they're thinking, you have absolutely no way of knowing. So why assume the worst?

Examples

I think I was rude to George, I'll bet he hates me.

Similar Distortions

Mind Reading is similar to Fortune Telling since it often requires you to believe information that you have no way of knowing.

Minimization of the Positive ๐Ÿ‘

If we downplay the good things that are happening to us, we're minimizing the positive. Even if our day didn't go 100% as planned, it doesn't mean that the 60% that did go right should be ignored.

Example

Many people liked my presentation, but I stumbled giving the intro, so it was bad.

Similar Distortions

Often Minimization of the Positive can lead to Catastrophizing. It also shares a lot with it's counterpart: Magnification of the Negative.

Other-Blaming ๐Ÿง›โ€โ™‚๏ธ

If a bad situation must be the fault of someone, we're other-blaming. If you failed an exam and you're blaming the teacher, you're directing your energy to the wrong place. Someone cut you off on the highway? If you honk your horn, flip them off, and stew, how is that helping? Now you're cut off and mad!

This doesn't mean you have to blame yourself for every negative situation. You don't have to blame anyone. No one has to be at fault if you let the situation pass without attaching blame.

Example

That jerk is taking too long in line and I'm going to be late!

Similar Distortions

Other Blaming is the counterpart to Self Blaming.

Overgeneralization ๐Ÿ‘ฏโ€

If we draw conclusions based on just one example, we're over-generalizing. If you bombed a presentation and assume that means you're "bad" at presenting, you're over-generalizing.

Example

No one asked me to dance, so no one ever will.

Similar Distortions

Overgeneralization is really similar to All or Nothing Thinking. They both happen when we take one small problem and extrapolate it out.