1. All or nothing thinking – You see everything in black & white – like a straight “A” student who gets one “B” then thinks, he or she is a total failure. It “will set you up for discrediting yourself endlessly. Whatever you do will never measure up”
2. Overgeneralization – You expect uniform bad luck because of one bad experience. “A shy guy asks a girl for a date. When she declined, he says to himself “I’m never gong to get a date. I’ll be lonely & miserable all my life”
3. Mental filter – You seize a negative fragment of a situation & dwell on it. It’s like wearing a special lens that filters out everything positive. “You soon conclude that everything is negative”
4. Automatic discounting – One instance of this is the way we often brush aside a compliment. “He’s just being nice” That’s a destructive distortion, usually a depressive hypothesis is dominating your thinking, some version of “I’m second rate”
5. Jumping to conclusions – Two examples are “Mind reading” & the “Fortune Teller Error”. In the firs you assume that others look down on you without checking the validity of your assumption. In the second, you look into the future & only disaster.
6. Magnification & minimization – This is called the “binocular trick” because you are either blowing things up, or shrinking them, out of proportion. You look at your imperfections through binoculars & magnify them. But when you think about your strengths, you look through the other end of the binoculars & shrink everything!
7. Emotional reasoning - “I feel guilty: therefore I must have done something bad” is a prime example. Your emotions seem to be evidence for the thought. It rarely occurs to depressed person to challenge this pattern of distorted reasoning.
8. Should statements – “I should not do this” & “I must do that” are examples of the kind of thinking that makes you feel guilty, rather than motivating you to do something.
9. Labeling and mislabeling – If the stock you invested in goes down, you might think, “I’m a failure” instead of “I made a mistake”. Such self labeling is irrational. Yourself cannot be equated with anyone thing you do.
10. Personalization – You think: whatever happens, whatever others do. It’s my fault. “You suffer from a paralyzing sense of bogus guilt”. What another person does is ultimately his or her responsibility – not yours.