How to help someone with mental illness empress2inspire.blogMental Health

Common Cognitive Distortions

Stress comes from our perception of the situation. Technically, the actual situation is not stressful; it is our perception that makes it stressful.

Here are some common unhelpful patterns of thinking that we all make as well as ways you can think about challenging these

  • Overgeneralising – You see a constant, negative pattern based on on event.
  • Blaming/Denying – You blame others for your problems or mistakes or you blame yourself when it wasn’t entirely your fault.
  • Should – You have a rigid code of conduct dictating how you and others should behave. You criticise yourself harshly when you fail to follow these rules.
  • All or nothing thinking – You see things as absolutes, no grey areas.
  • Negativity Bias – You notice all of the negatives, but fail to notice the positives.
  • Catastrophizing : You expect the worst.
  • Labeling : You label yourself negatively.
  • Magical Thinking : You think everything will be better when ____ (you’re thinner, smarter, richer, get a new job, etc).
  • Over personalising : You make things personal, when they aren’t. You believe other people’s opinions are facts. You think what other people do/say is in reaction to you.
  • Mind-reading : You make assumptions about what you are thinking.
  • Double standard : You hold yourself to a higher standard then everyone else.
  • Fallacy of fairness : You think things should work out according to what you think is fair.
  • Emotional reasoning : You think your feelings are reality.

Take on the daily challenge of recognising and changing these cognitive distortions. By changing our negative thinking, we may find ourselves worrying less and enjoying life more.

44 replies »

  1. As a physician you must be knowing about the disease of thinking one has whatever symptoms one reads about (is it hypochondria?). I seem to be having ALL those you listed. Shahir Ludhianvi asked: “Ye diniya agar mil bhi jaye to kya hai?” I ask “Ye duniya agar MIT bhi jaye to kya hai?” Poet SriSri asked “Emunnadi garva karanam?” (what is there to be roud of? — I know you do not know Telugu). I ask: What is there in the world to be positive about? Too many things are negative in life. How can positive thinking come?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As I read the list I realize I rarely do these any more. There was a time 2 years ago when I have read these that these were the only ways I see life. I have worked very hard but with your post I can now see it is paying off. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Garima, cool list πŸ™‚ very insightful and informative.

    Magical Thinking stood out for me.. I often think things will be better (or that I’ll be happier) once I find a good job, the right partner, have kids, and so on. When maybe it’s best to focus on what I have now-today.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes Ki, the best way to live is to live in the present. A trick to be more present is this : If you know someone that is more present than most people then you can pick his/her vibe of presence (just like you can pick up positivity or enthusiasm from people). If you don’t know someone like that I recommend listening to/watching cds/dvds by Eckhart Tolle. His books work too. But cds/dvds are better than books for picking up someone’s vibe since the biggest part of communication is voice tonality and body language.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh wow, yea that’s a neat trick, I’ll try to implement it whenever possible.. πŸ™‚ funny how Eckhart Tolle’s name gets tossed around a lot (along with his similars like Oprah, Deepak Chopra, etc.). I’ve seen some of his videos and his voice/way of talking is a bit too slow for my tastes err lol, even though it’s very relaxed and I know he means well.

        Thanks anyways Garima! Cheers πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad you found them helpful Bella. These thinking traps cause us to perceive reality differently to how it really is, triggering feelings of negativity and pessimism (and in many cases, depression). Thank you for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

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