This is taken from an app I used to use years ago called "Moodtools CBT Thought Diary", I am prone to a few of these, and I've kept this list to go back to from time to time.

What are Cognitive Distortions

Cognitive distortions consist of irrational logic in our thinking. These distortions typically reinforce negative thinking or emotions. They typically occur automatically and we simply accept them as true. However, if we step back from our negative thoughts, we can analyse them for the presence of cognitive distortions.

All-or-nothing thinking

(or dichotomous reasoning)

Thinking in black or white, thinking in extremes. Using words such as "always" or "never" to describe yourself or situations

E.g. No one likes me; I am always a bother to other people; I never win anything


Making a very broad conclusion based on one event; taking one situation and expecting the same result to happen in all future situations.

E.g. She cannot meet me for lunch today. This means she isn't reliable at all.

Filtering out the positive

(or mental filtering)

Only focusing on the negative aspects of an experience while ignoring the positives. Focusing only on information that confirms what you already believe in.

E.g. He didn't like the chicken I made for dinner but loved the vegetables and dessert. I feel that my cooking skills are terrible because the chicken was bad.

Jumping to conclusions

Reaching a hasty conclusion or judging something without having enough facts.

E.g. He came home with a frown on his face, so he must be angry with me.

Mind reading

Assuming or inferring another person's thoughts or expecting for the worst possible scenario without actually confirming with the person or having solid evidence.

E.g. My friend did not wave back at me when I waved to her from across the street. She must be angry with me right now.


Predicting a negative outcome before the event happens.

E.g. The boss will definitely not like my presentation; my boyfriend will definitely hate my new haircut.

Magnification of negative

Putting greater emphasis on possible failures, weaknesses, or threats.

E.g. During my class presentation I made a couple of mistakes while talking. My teacher and peers complimented me on a good presentation afterwards, but ! continued to feel embarrassed about the things I messed up on.

Minimization of the positive

Putting lesser emphasis on possible success, strength or opportunity.

E.g. When someone compliments me, instead of feeling proud of my achievement I discount their compliments as simply being polite.


Over-exaggerating; believing in the worse case scenario or thinking something is extremely unbearable or impossible when it actually isn't that bad

E.g. I knocked over that glass bottle and I feel mortified that everyone who is staring at me must think that I am a useless person.

Emotional reasoning

Believing that if you feel something is true, it must be true

E.g. I feel so dumb and useless, therefore I must be dumb and useless

Should statements

Thinking that you are morally obligated to do things; using "should" statements

E.g. I should never feel angry. I should feel very guilty.

Labelling and mislabeling

Attributing a person's behaviours to his/her character or personality ("this is who she is all the time") rather than thinking it's temporary or just for one event ("she just made a mistake")

E.g. That driver honked at me at the intersection so he must be an angry person in general.


Blaming yourself or thinking you're personally responsible for a situation that you actually have no control over

E.g. I was late to work because ofa road accident, but should have known that in


Blaming others or holding other people responsible for things done to you that they may have no control over

E.g. She should have been more careful when she knocked over that glass bottle.