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Cognitive Distortions You Need to Dispel to Recover

Cognitive distortions try to make us believe things that aren’t true. They are ways our brain tricks us into accepting our negative and irrational thoughts. Cognitive distortions are especially tough to deal with for people with a mental illness. Negative self-talk can turn into a never-ending cycle. Villa Tranquil Recovery wants to help you become aware of cognitive distortions you may employ. Awareness leads to change. We want to spark that change.

  • All-or-nothing thinking
    • If you are seeing things in only black or white, you’re probably engaging in all-or-nothing thinking. Gray areas don’t exist here.
      • ASK YOURSELF: Can I look for a gray area?
  • Always being right
    • If you’re telling yourself that you are never wrong, you’re probably engaging in this cognitive distortion in which you ignore the truth.
      • ASK YOURSELF: What’s one thing I was wrong about in the past?
  • Blame
    • If you are only holding other people accountable, but not yourself, you’re probably playing the blame game. This is especially the case with things out of other people’s control. 
      • ASK YOURSELF: Am I blaming others unnecessarily?
  • Disqualifying the positive
    • If you are constantly looking at the negative aspects of yourself, you may find yourself believing that there is nothing positive about you. 
      • ASK YOURSELF: Is there something I can find about myself that is positive?
  • Emotional reasoning
    • When you reason with negative thoughts, you’re attempting to make yourself believe that your negative thoughts are true. They usually are not.
      • ASK YOURSELF: Are these thoughts really accurate?
  • Jumping to conclusions — fortune telling 
    • This cognitive distortion is when you are predicting that something bad will happen. These cognitive distortions help you jump to negative conclusions. 
      • ASK YOURSELF: Do I have any evidence to support these thoughts?
  • Jumping to conclusions — mind reading
    • You don’t know what everyone else is thinking, so stop pretending to.
      • ASK YOURSELF: Instead of thinking about what others are thinking, what am I thinking?
  • Labeling
    • No one is defined by one thing, so try not to label yourself as one thing or another. 
      • ASK YOURSELF: What are three things that are true about me?
  • Magical thinking
    • You are not bigger than what’s around you. Your decisions have a say in how your life plays out, but that control is not fully yours. Not everything is your fault.
      • ASK YOURSELF: Am I holding myself to an unreasonable standard?
  • Magnification
    • Don’t magnify the bad things about yourself. We all have our flaws. They probably aren’t as large as you think they are. 
      • ASK YOURSELF: What would I say to a friend who was thinking this way?
  • Mental filtering
    • If you’re filtering out the positives in your life and only looking at the negatives, you are engaging in this cognitive distortion. 
      • ASK YOURSELF: What’s one positive thing about myself?
  • Overgeneralization
    • If one thing has gone wrong, you may find yourself believing everything will go wrong. This is the never-ending cycle of negativity. 
    • ASK YOURSELF: Am I overgeneralizing?
  • Personalization
    • Not everything is in your control. Making everything about yourself is a cognitive distortion. 
      • ASK YOURSELF: Is this really in my control?
  • “Should” statements
    • We can’t always be bigger or better or smarter, so stop thinking you should. 
      • ASK YOURSELF: Am I holding myself to unreasonable standards?
  • Underestimating your ability to cope
    • No matter what happens, you will be okay. Thinking otherwise is what happens when you underestimate your ability to cope. 
      • ASK YOURSELF: What tools do I have to help me tackle this?

Villa Tranquil Recovery is here to help give you the tools to heal your mind, body, and spirit. Call now to learn more about our groups and workshops at 214-799-3080. We can’t wait to hear from you!