Cognitive distortions (or unhelpful thinking patterns) exist as irrational logic in our thinking that tend to reinforce negative thoughts and emotions. Once we recognise the presence of these distortions we can challenge them and approach distressing situations with tools to help us cope.
Black & White Thinking
Thinking in extremes. Believing something or someone can be all good or bad rather than in-between or shades of grey. This includes using words like always or never to describe yourself, others or situations.
Believing that if you feel something is true, it must be true.
"I feel bad so it must be bad"
Feelings are just reactions to thoughts and thoughts are automatic brain reflexes
Thinking or saying "I should" (or shouldn't) and "I must" therefore putting pressure on ourselves and setting up unrealistic expectations
Assuming or inferring another persons thoughts or expecting the worst possible scenario without solid evidence
Believing we know what is going to happen in the future and treating it as a certainty
Compare & Despair
Seeing only the good and positive aspects in others, and comparing ourselves negatively against them
Mountains & Molehills
Exaggerating the risk of danger, or the negatives and minimising the odds of how things are most likely to turn out.
"What is the bigger picture?"
Sometimes events trigger memories of being hurt in the past, leading us to believe the danger is here and now, rather than in the past
When we notice only what our filter allows us to notice and we dismiss anything that doesn't 'fit' we are also dismissing the positive/realistic.
Attributing a persons behaviours to his/her character or personality
"This is how they are all the time"
Rather than thinking it's temporary or just for one event
"She just made a mistake"
Imagining and believing that the worst possible thing will happen in a situation, when realistically things will turn out better or surprisingly different.