Classic Cognitive Distortions or Assumptions (Brief Version)
Directions: Place a check mark next two the two you do most often.
All or Nothing Thinking:
You think of things in “black or white”, “right or wrong”, “perfect or terrible” categories.
You think of a single negative event as a never-ending pattern.
You dwell on a single negative detail, and ignore moderate or positive things that may occur.
Disqualifying the Positive:
You reject positive experiences... “They don’t count”.
You maintain a negative view in spite of contradictory evidence.
You arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you, & don’t check this out with them.
You anticipate that things will turn out badly, and feel convinced that your prediction is a fact.
You believe the worst-case scenario will definitely happen.
Magnifying or Minimizing:
You exaggerate the importance of certain things (e.g. your mistakes or other’s successes) and minimize other things (e.g. your own desirable qualities or other’s imperfections).
You assume that the way you feel reflects the way things are. “I feel it, therefore it must be true.”
You believe you must live up to excessively high standards, & may also have excessively high expectations of others. You believe you should have known/done better, even when that would have been impossible.
Instead of describing an error, you put a negative label on yourself/others. e.g. Instead acknowledging your small error, you label yourself a “Loser”.
You see yourself as responsible for events around you that had little/no responsibility for.
e.g. Your friend is sad b/c her boyfriend left her, and you criticize yourself for having a boyfriend.
Jumping To Conclusions:
You conclude that something is a fact without enough evidence.
You overestimate the likelihood that something negative or dangerous will occur.
You believe that you must inflate your achievements to be socially successful.
Adapted from: Cognitive Distortions (1999). The Shyness Institute, Portola Valley, CA