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Cognitive Distortions and Mental Health

Cognitive distortions are thoughts that are not based in reality, or are negative thoughts about oneself, others, or the future. This way of thinking reinforces negative emotions which may worsen preexisting mental health conditions, self-esteem, and behavior. A person who suffers from social anxiety may have cognitive distortions, and these cognitive distortions reinforces their negative feelings, and discomfort. The person suffering with anxiety may then lead to total withdrawal from all social interactions.

In 1979, researchers identified 10 common distorted thinking patterns which include:

  • Mind Reading
  • Catastrophisizing
  • All-Or-Nothing Thinking
  • Emotional Reasoning
  • Labeling
  • Mental Filtering
  • Overgeneralization
  • Personalization
  • Should Statements
  • Minimizing or disqualifying the positive

It is important to seek help from professional mental health care workers. By seeking help, individuals with mental health concerns may improve their symptoms and learn skills to better prevent negative thoughts and behaviors, and bring about more positive thinking, coping, and healthy behavioral lifestyle choices.



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