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15 Examples of Cognitive Distortions

Cognitive distortion is known as the wrong way of interpreting the information received, and that often leads to emotional problems. Many of the problems that most people experience are the product of a wrong connotation of the words heard, read, or about some situation that they have witnessed.

Each human being has a particular way of interpreting what happens around him, since it will depend on many factors linked to his personal experience. But those who constantly suffer from cognitive distortions usually have a disorder, such as depression.

People with depression or paranoid personality disorder tend to irrationally process what is happening in their environment. It is very possible that they misinterpret what others say about them or a third party.

When there is a cognitive distortion, the mind moves a little away from reality and processes the information without taking into account valid arguments, evidence or other elements that clarify ideas.

Examples of cognitive distortions

  1. Dichotomous thinking (all or nothing). Example : If they do not accept me in this university, I will not apply for any other.
  2. Selective abstraction. All negativity is deposited in an element, giving it an irrational importance. Ex : I will not pass the exam because I did not read page 22 of the book.
  3. Personalization. Thinking that something someone says or does is against us. Ex : When I said I wanted coffee, my partner who passed near me sighed deeply, surely he thought I was bothering him.
  4. Perfectionism Absurd obsession to make everything ‘perfect’. Which results in disappointment and / or frustration.
  5. Overgeneralization. Starting from a situation to draw generalized conclusions. Example : Manuel left me planted at the altar; no man will ever value me.
  6. Discount the positive. Not looking at the good that happened, but finding the negative element by force. Ex : I won the race, but they surely gave me an advantage because I am slow.
  7. Jump to conclusions. Think of hasty and negative conclusions avoiding doing what is necessary to achieve another result. Ex : I will not go to the party, because I will not find who wants to dance with me.
  8. Read minds. Suppose what another thinks about us. Ex : My girlfriend doesn’t tell me, but I know she thinks I’m a loser.
  9. Fortune telling. Tendency to assume and assume. Example : Even if I get up earlier and get organized, I won’t be on time for work.
  10. Maximization . Exaggerating problems to justify failures. Example : He didn’t want to make me dinner, he sure wants to leave me.
  11. Minimization . Do not value experiences thinking that they are little. Ex : He does not love me enough, well, he only gave me a bouquet of roses on my birthday, he did not organize a party for me.
  12. Emotional reasoning. Create conclusions based on previously experienced emotions. Example : I don’t want to give Miguel a lot of confidence because at work they are hypocrites.
  13. “Should” statements. Little justified expectations. Eg : You should educate your child better because he cannot be still.
  14. Label. Create stereotypes or negatively label yourself with an offensive or derogatory word. Ex : I am the worst student in this school.
  15. Catastrophism. It is decreed that the worst possible thing will happen. Ex : It is very possible that when reading my resume he laughs and does not hire me. I better not send it.
  16. Inappropriate guilt. Example : I asked the teacher some questions; realized that I did not study enough. He sure made the test more difficult because of me.
  17. Building personal worth based on the opinions of others. Ex : The people who listened to me laughed at what I said. It is that I am very ignorant.

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