1. Polarized, or all-or-nothing thinking (also called black and white or dichotomous thinking): you see things in only two categories and there is no middle ground (e.g. matters are either good or bad, safe or toxic, clean or contaminated).
2. Labeling: a version of all-or-nothing thinking. Instead of saying, “This didn’t go well. I misunderstood,” you attach a global negative to yourself: “I’m a failure.”
3. Overgeneralization: you interpret one isolated current situation as a sequence of bad events by using words like “always” or “never” when you describe it or think about it.
4. Mental filter (also called filtering or selective abstraction): you focus on an isolated negative detail and selectively attend to it, so that ultimately your interpretation of everything that’s happening becomes distorted.
5. Discounting the positive: you disqualify positive events and assume that they don’t matter. If you accomplish something you could be proud of, you tell yourself that it wasn’t that important, or that anyone could have done it.
6. Mind reading: you automatically assume that others are reacting negatively to you without having any evidence for it.
7. Fortune-telling (also called catastrophing): you automatically assume that things will turn out terribly before they even start and without having any evidence for this prediction.
8. Magnification: you blow out of proportion your shortcomings and problems (usually this goes along with minimizing or discounting all your positive qualities).
9. Emotional reasoning: you assume that your feelings reflect the way things really are. “I feel guilty, so I must have done something wrong. I feel anxious, therefore the situation must be dangerous.”
10. “Should” and “must” statements (also called imperatives): you expect that things should be the way you want them to be. If they are not, you feel guilty. “I shouldn’t have made so many mistakes.”
This list is adapted from Cognitive Therapy: Basics and Beyond (p. 119), by J. Beck, 1995, New York: Guilford Press (and from A. Beck). Copyright 1995 by Guilford Press. Adapted with permission.
I got this from my therapist a while back. I just felt like it belonged on Tumblr. You know, we’re all going through the same shit. Try to consciously prevent yourself from doing these things.