All or Nothing Thinking ๐ŸŒ“

This distortion happens when we have no room for middle ground. If we think that a small fault in ourselves means weโ€™re fundamentally rotten or otherwise terrible, weโ€™re likely engaging in ๐ŸŒ“ All or Nothing Thinking.

Example

I failed this interview, so I'll fail all my interviews.

Similar distortions

๐ŸŒ“ All or Nothing Thinking is really similar to ๐Ÿ‘ฏโ€ Overgeneralization. They both happen when we take one small problem and extrapolate it out.

Catastrophizing ๐Ÿคฏ

If weโ€™re taking a small problem and blowing it way out of proportion, weโ€™re๐Ÿคฏ Catastrophizing. Did you make a small mistake at work and are dreading if someone found out even though itโ€™s nothing serious? Youโ€™re probably catastrophizing.

Examples

Often this cognitive distortion is a series of thoughts, one after the other.

I took too long to answer that interview question

Because I took too long, I'll bet I failed the interview.

Because I failed this one, I'll probably fail all interviews I get.

Because I'll fail all my interviews, I'm probably just bad at this career and I should give up.

Similar distortions

Catastrophizing is similar to ๐Ÿ‘ Minimization of the Positive and๐Ÿ‘Ž Magnification of the Negative.

Some mental health professionals call this "making a mountain out of a molehill."

Emotional Reasoning ๐ŸŽญ

"I feel it, therefore it must be true."

If we find ourselves justifying the "danger" of something innocuous because weโ€™re afraid of it, then weโ€™re likely engaging in ๐ŸŽญ Emotional Reasoning. Things arenโ€™t dangerous because weโ€™re afraid of them and weโ€™re not awful just because we may think we are.

This one is often hard to recognize. It takes some effort to recognize when your emotional mind is taking the logical reins.

Examples

I feel guilty, therefore I must have done something bad.

I feel scared, therefore this must be dangerous.

Similar Distortions

๐ŸŽญ Emotional Reasoning is common when were also ๐Ÿ”ฎ Fortune Telling. Frequently, we'll use our own emotions to justify our predictions.

Fortune Telling ๐Ÿ”ฎ

๐Ÿ”ฎ Fortune Telling happens when we try to predict the future. If we're worried something will happen, we're fortune telling.

We often overestimate our abilities to predict what will happen. This can happen when we start at something we're worried might happen and then look for evidence that it will occur.

If we're worried the plane we're on will crash, we may take any scratch on the wing or strange tone in the pilots announcement as proof of our concern.

Examples

The plane I'm about to get on will crash.

I'll fail this interview.

I'll get sick at this party.

Similar Distortions

๐Ÿง  Mind Reading is similar to ๐Ÿ”ฎ Fortune Telling since it often requires you to believe information that you have no way of knowing.

Magnification of the Negative ๐Ÿ‘Ž

If we're judging a situation based entirely on the negative parts and not considering the positive parts, we're likely magnifying the negative. If weโ€™re constantly berating ourselves for bombing a job interview, we're probably filtering out all the experience we gained from that interview.

Examples

I ate healthy this week, but I skipped the run I had planned.

Similar Distortions

Often ๐Ÿ‘Ž Magnification of the Negative can lead to ๐Ÿคฏ Catastrophizing. It also shares a lot with it's counterpart: ๐Ÿ‘ Minimization of the Positive.

Labeling ๐Ÿท

If we're taking one characteristic of a person and applying it to the whole person, we're ๐Ÿท Labeling. If someone brushed us off, they might not be a "jerk," maybe they're just in a hurry. This applies to ourselves as well; just because we make a mistake doesn't mean we're a "failure."

Example

I failed a test, so I'm a bad student.

Similar Distortions

Labeling can often come from โœจ Should Statements, since often when we think someone should be a certain way, we're also labeling them.

Mind Reading ๐Ÿง 

If we're worried about what someone else is thinking about us, we're๐Ÿง  Mind Reading. Unless someone tells you what they're thinking, you have absolutely no way of knowing. So why assume the worst?

Examples

I think I was rude to George, I'll bet he hates me.

Similar Distortions

๐Ÿง  Mind Reading is similar to ๐Ÿ”ฎ Fortune Telling since it often requires you to believe information that you have no way of knowing.

Minimization of the Positive ๐Ÿ‘

If we downplay the good things that are happening to us, we're minimizing the positive. Even if our day didn't go 100% as planned, it doesn't mean that the 60% that did go right should be ignored.

Example

Many people liked my presentation, but I stumbled giving the intro, so it was bad.

Similar Distortions

Often ๐Ÿ‘ Minimization of the Positive can lead to ๐Ÿคฏ Catastrophizing. It also shares a lot with it's counterpart: ๐Ÿ‘Ž Magnification of the Negative.

Other-Blaming ๐Ÿง›โ€โ™‚๏ธ

If a bad situation must be the fault of someone else, we're other-blaming. If you failed an exam and you're blaming the teacher, you're directing your energy to the wrong place. Someone cut you off on the highway? If you honk your horn, flip them off, and stew, how is that helping? Now you're cut off and mad!

This doesn't mean you have to blame yourself for every negative situation. You don't have to blame anyone. No one has to be at fault if you let the situation pass without attaching blame.

Example

That jerk is taking too long in line and I'm going to be late!

Similar Distortions

๐Ÿง›โ€ Other Blaming is the counterpart to ๐Ÿ‘ Self Blaming.

Overgeneralization ๐Ÿ‘ฏโ€

If we draw conclusions based on just one example, we're over-generalizing. If you bombed a presentation and assume that means you're "bad" at presenting, you're over-generalizing.

Example

No one asked me to dance, so no one ever will.

Similar Distortions

๐Ÿ‘ฏโ€ Overgeneralization is really similar to ๐ŸŒ“ All or Nothing Thinking. They both happen when we take one small problem and extrapolate it out.

Self-Blaming ๐Ÿ‘

If you're attributing a negative situation entirely to yourself, you're ๐Ÿ‘ Self Blaming. You don't have to be responsible for every bad thing that happens. If you're getting caught in traffic and you're berating yourself for not leaving earlier, you're self-blaming.

Would you treat someone else this way?

Example

My son is failing in school, I must have failed him.

Similar Distortions

๐Ÿ‘ Self Blaming is the counterpart to ๐Ÿง›โ€ Other Blaming.

Should Statements โœจ

If you're assigning someone or something abilities they don't have, you're using "should" statements. For example, if you have a fear of flying and are telling yourself "I shouldn't be afraid of this, there's nothing wrong with the airplane!" you're putting an undue burden on yourself. You have a fear of flying! It's normal for people who have a fear of flying to be afraid flying!

Some โœจ Should Statements can seem nonsensical when you say it out loud; that's the point!

Should statements can also be a sign of extreme unreasonable of yourself or others. You may think that you should be the best at your job, but this isn't necessarily true. Most people aren't the best; by definition, only one person can be! There's no universal requirement that it's got to be you.

If someone's rude to you, you may think:

They should have been more polite.

But why should they? Some people are not polite and it doesn't have to effect you.

Removing โœจ Should Statements from your life means accepting things for what they are and not necessarily what they should be.

Examples

I should be getting better faster.

They should have been here on time.