These new ways of thinking can reduce or eliminate depression and anxiety while enhancing your relationships and career success. It is also possible to recover from such problems as alcohol/drug abuse, compulsive sex and other behaviors. A distinct advantage of cognitive therapy is that you will learn techniques to manage your problems more effectively on your own.
Below is a list of cognitive distortions to watch out for that left unchecked can easily lead to feelings of depression and anxiety.
Checklist of Cognitive Distortions:
- All-or-Nothing Thinking: You see things in absolute black-and-white categories.
- Overgeneralization: You view a negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat.
- Mental Filter: You dwell on the negatives and ignore the positives.
- Discounting the Positives: You insist that your accomplishments or positive qualities "don’t count" so you can maintain negative belief.
- Jumping to Conclusions: You make a negative interpretation even though they’re no definite facts to convincingly support your conclusion. a. Mind Reading: You arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you, and you don’t bother to check this out. b. The Fortune-Teller Error: You anticipate that things will turn out badly, and you feel convinced that your prediction is an already a fact.
- Magnification or Minimization: You blow things out of proportion (Catastrophizing) or you shrink their importance inappropriately.
- Emotional Reasoning: You reason from how you feel: “I feel like an idiot so I really must be one” or "I don’t feel like doing this so I put it off."
- Should Statements: You criticize yourself or other people with "shoulds" or "shouldn’ts", "musts", "oughts", "have tos", etc …
- Labeling: You identify with your shortcomings. Instead of saying, "I made a mistake" you tell yourself, "I’m a jerk, fool or loser." When someone else’s behavior rubs you the wrong way, you attach a negative label to them.
- Personalization and Blame: You blame yourself for something you were not entirely responsible for, or you blame other people and overlook ways that your own attitudes and behavior might contribute to the situation.