Checklist of cognitive distortions

  1. All-or-nothing thinking:  you look at things in absolute, black and white categories. 
  2. Overgeneralization: You view a negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat. 
  3. Mental Filter: You dwell on the negatives and ignore the positives. 
  4. Discounting the positives: You insist that your accomplishments or positive qualities “don’t count.” 
  5. Jumping to conclusions: A) Mind reading -- you assume that people are reacting negatively to you when there’s no definite evidence for this; B)Fortune Telling -- you arbitrarily predict things will turn out badly.
  6. Magnification or Minimization: You blow things way out of proportion or you shrink their importance inappropriately.
  7. 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’ll put it off.” 
  8. Should Statements: You criticize yourself or other people with “Shoulds” or “Shouldn’ts.” “Musts,” “Oughts,” “Have tos” are similar offenders. 
  9. Labeling: You identify with your shortcomings. Instead of saying, “I made a mistake,” you tell yourself, “I’m a jerk,” or “a fool,” or “a loser.” 
  10. Personalization and Blame: You blame yourself for something you weren’t entirely responsible for, or you blame other people and overlook ways that your own attitudes and behavior might contribute to a problem.

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