You've got a friend in me: supporting yourself and others

Cognitive Distortions

Our thoughts can be very powerful, impacting how we feel physically and emotionally. Cognitive distortions are thoughts that cause individuals to perceive reality inaccurately, and we’ve outlined a few below. By identifying cognitive distortions in your thinking patterns, you are more able to challenge them, asking yourself whether they are based on fact or fiction.

Cognitive Distortion Black or White thinking

Explanation

Example

Seeing a situation and/ or yourself in extreme polarities – there is no grey area or middle ground.

I didn’t make it to my first class today, so there is no point in going in at all.

Fortune Telling

When an individual makes unreasonable predictions about the future.

I know that if I open up to my friends about how I’m feeling, they won’t get it and I’ll look stupid.

Catastrophising

Imagining and believing the worst possible thing will happen

If I don’t get a good grade in this module, I will fail my degree and I won’t be able to get a job.

Making Demands

When you set high expectations for yourself which are inflexible, rigid and unattainable. Using critical words such as ‘should’, ‘must’ and ‘ought’ can make us feel guilty or like we have already failed.

By the end of the day, I should have completed a whole section of my dissertation.

Critical Words

I must go for a run every day.

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