Unhelpful Thought Patterns and Thinking Styles

If you recognise a thought is distorted, remember that it’s ‘just a thought’ rather than a fact – not everything your mind tells you is true. You can choose whether you attribute value to the thought or whether it’s best ignored.

‘All-or-nothing’ / black-and-white thinking‘If I’m not perfect, I’ve failed’
Mental filterPaying attention selectively to evidence. i.e. noticing failures but not successes
Jumping to conclusionsMind reading: imagining we know what others are thinking Fortune telling: predicting the future 
Emotional reasoningAssuming that feelings = facts. ‘I feel embarrassed so I must be a loser’
Over-generalisingSeeing a pattern based on one or two examples, or being overly broad in conclusions
Disqualifying the positiveDiscounting good things that have happened
Magnification/catastrophising, and minimisationBlowing things out of proportion, or shrinking something so that it seems less important
Should / MustUsing critical language like ‘should’ or ‘must’ can make you feel guilt as if you’ve already failed. When applied to others – we often feel frustrated
LabellingAssigning labels to yourself or others that limits the scope of possibilities e.g. ‘They’re an idiot’ 
PersonalisationBlaming yourself or taking responsibility for something that wasn’t your fault. Conversely, blaming other people for something that was your fault.