Automatic thoughts result from our underlying beliefs. At times, these thoughts and beliefs can be distorted. Cognitive distortions prevent us from seeing situations accurately and can negatively impact our mood, relationships, and the way we navigate life. It is important to understand how and why our thoughts get distorted. There are a variety of thought distortions such as: jumping to conclusions, mental filtering, emotional reasoning, all-or-nothing thinking, overgeneralizing, catastrophizing, personalization, and making predictions about the future.
Distorted thoughts arrive at a conclusion about something without evaluating the data. For instance, mental filtering involves selectively paying attention to information that supports our ideas without evaluating the rest of the data. Similarly, thinking in rigid, black and white terms involves using words like “always” or “never” to describe a situation or event. For example, cheating one day on your diet does not mean you have failed completely or making a mistake on an assignment does not mean that you “always” make mistakes.
All or none thinking is not in line with the real word. Most events and situations fall on a continuum. One step in correcting dysfunctional thinking is to evaluate the evidence in the situation and remember that automatic thoughts and feelings are not facts. If you or someone you care about suffer from thought distortions reach out to a qualified mental health professional today to learn strategies to overcome these harmful thinking traps.
Contact a qualified mental health provider today.