Top 3 Thought Patterns That’ll Cause Problems

Back in the day, psychiatrist Dr. Aaron Beck History of Cognitive Behavior Therapy – CBT | Beck Institute (the granddad of Cognitive Behavior Therapy or CBT) introduced the impact of distorted thought patterns (officially called Cognitive Distortions) that are likely to cause problems for people. Anger, Anxiety, Depression, Conflict and Stress are just a few outcomes of distorted thinking. Here common thought patterns that get us feeling not-so-good about ourselves and our lives:

  • All or Nothing Thinking

Think about it. Nothing in life is all or nothing. Even if it is night, it is day somewhere else. Seeing things as all bad or all good is an exaggeration, a hyper-focus on one thing.  Being able to see what is in between can go a long way to decreasing anxiety or depression and increasing happiness and calm.

  • Minimizing

Downplaying or ignoring personal achievements and successes can rob you of enjoying the benefits of your hard work and your strengths. Even if you are not the boastful type, acknowledging to yourself what you have done well or what is good about you reminds us that life is good and so are we.

  • Should or Shouldn’t

When we tell ourselves how we should feel or shouldn’t behave, we are applying a negative parameter around what is acceptable. This puts undue pressure on us. Rather than “shoulding” on ourselves, it is more helpful to take a perspective of curiosity. Switching form, “I shouldn’t be angry with my sister” to “Why am I angry at my sister?” for example can go a long way to freeing us up to learn about ourselves and how we want to do things differently.


Learn more about Cognitive Distortions! 50 Common Cognitive Distortions | Psychology Today

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