Psychological health

15 Common Cognitive Distortions That Twist Your Thinking

We all have unique minds and different thought patterns. Some of us tend to be analytical while others tend to be creative. Some tend to focus on problems, while others focus on solutions. Our faulty thought patterns are known as cognitive distortions that define our perception of reality. So what is your thinking style and how do you see your reality?

What are cognitive distortions?

It is these inflated and irrational thought patterns and belief systems that often negatively misrepresent how we perceive the world.. Cognitive distortions refer to errors in our thinking patterns that make us misunderstand reality.

These thoughts can be either habitual or instinctive and are usually negatively biased. Since such distortions in thinking tend to be common, it can be really hard to spot them, especially when we don’t realize we can change them.

Unfortunately, most people spend their entire lives accepting these distortions and believing their distorted perceptions. Psychologists believe that having these errors in thinking can cause or exacerbate various mental health problems such as stress, anxiety, paranoia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and depression.

This can lead to relationship problems and cause unnecessary complications in our personal lives.

Cognitive distortions are negatively biased errors in thinking that are claimed to increase vulnerability to depression,” explain researchers from A 2016 study. When faced with certain situations, most of us have some automatic thoughts as an emotional or behavioral response.

These automatic thoughts are usually based on our basic beliefs about ourselves and the world. Negative automatic thoughts arise from negative core beliefs that may result from negative, neutral, or positive situations or events.

This phenomenon was initially observed by psychiatrist Aaron T. Beck and later studied by psychiatrist David de Burns. It has been found that negative thinking causes negative perceptions or schemes that reinforce negative thoughts and emotions.

Read also: How cognitive distortions harm us

15 common cognitive distortions that affect your thinking

Search It shows that we can develop negative automatic thought patterns when we are repeatedly exposed to adverse life events, especially in childhood. The duration and severity of these negative experiences influence the amount of thinking errors we develop.

However, another study He found that cognitive distortions may be a form of evolutionary defense and survival mechanisms sensitive to threats.

The study explains “Humans have evolved to think adaptively rather than logically. Hence, cognitive distortions are not strictly errors in brain functioning, and it can be useful to inform patients that ‘negative thinking’ may be ineffective but is a reflection of basic brain design rather than personal irrationality.”. “

Types of cognitive distortions

Types of cognitive distortions

According to psychiatrist Aaron Beck’s research on cognitive distortions, 15 common types of thinking errors have been identified. Check it out below to see if you can link to any of them:

1. All or nothing thinking

List of cognitive distortions

Also known as dichotomy or black and white thinking, it refers to a thinking style that focuses on noticing things in extremes or absolutes. Either it is all or nothing at all. This kind of distortion can cause relapse.

Psychoanalyst Ronald Fairburn described it as our inability to engage the positive and negative aspects of ourselves, others, or the world in a comprehensive and realistic approach. that it defense mechanism Which considers someone’s intentions and actions as either good or bad, white or black without any shades of gray.

If a person is on a diet and eats a cheat meal during a social gathering, they may think that their diet has completely failed. This can lead to more destructive or ineffective behaviour. It is commonly observed in perfection.

Read also: 3 Cognitive Strategies for Dealing with Bad News

2. Excessive generalization

15 common cognitive distortions that affect your thinking

Some people tend to make false generalizations based on insufficient evidence or evidence. These individuals form an opinion Or make a decision based on a particular experience, event, or even a handful of coincidences, which are often negative.

Hence, they tend to jump to conclusions with limited information or evidence or a single event or experience. If they only had a bad experience once, they would think it would happen more frequently. People with these cognitive distortions tend to say phrases like “never” or “always” frequently.

If someone has been romantically rejected once, they may develop a false belief that other potential romantic partners will reject them as well. Hence, they may refrain from dating or even approaching others. Search It shows that overgeneralization is associated with anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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