Now that we know what cognitive distortions are and how this way of automatic thinking affects our moods, we must now find a way to counteract and change these thought processes. Here is a list of the cognitive distortions and steps that you can take to prevent these types of thinking.
- All or nothing thinking
- Instead of categorizing things in black and white, try rating them on a scale from 1-10. By rating the situation, you are considering all sides instead of instantly picking a side.
- Instead of making a judgment and reacting on that, view the evidence. Examine how others are behaving to the situation and why. Is there another perspective?
- Mental filter
- Am I only noticing the bad stuff? Am I filtering out the positives? What would be more realistic?
- Disqualifying the positive
- Am I exaggerating my negatives and minimizing the positives? How would someone else see it? What’s the bigger picture? It can also be helpful to minimize social media usage, where we compare our worst to other people’s best.
- Jumping to conclusions
- Mind reading
- Am I assuming I know what others are thinking? What’s the evidence? Those are my own thoughts, not theirs. Is there another, more balanced way of looking at it?
- Fortune teller error
- Am I thinking that I can predict the future? How likely is it that that might really happen?
- Mind reading
- Thinking that the worst possible thing will definitely happen isn’t helpful right now. Ask yourself, “ what’s most likely to happen?”
- Emotional reasoning
- Just because it feels bad, doesn’t necessarily mean it is bad. My feelings are just a reaction to my thoughts – and thoughts are just automatic brain reflexes.
- Absolute Statements
- Am I putting more pressure on myself, setting up expectations of myself that are almost impossible? What would be more realistic? Avoid using words that have no meaning. Please see the list at the end of this article which shows what words are more helpful than others.
- Labeling & Mislabeling
- Instead of labeling the situation, look at the evidence. Also avoid double standards, these will only make a situation worse.
- Would most people who really know me say that about me? Is this something that I am totally responsible for? Instead of blaming yourself or another person, consider the circumstances. Look at the situation and view the evidence.
- This is just a reminder of the past. That was then, and this is now. Even though this memory makes me feel upset, it’s not actually happening again right now.
|Should||Like or Want|
|Should not||Do not Like or Want|
|Have to||Would Like|
|Must not||Wish would not|