Cognitive distortions: 7 ways the mind sabotages us

Self-love. One of the most used, processed and therefore stapled concepts in the history of psychology. The cognitive current (the one that includes “the mind” in the human equation) is the one that initiated the concept of self-esteem at the time, defining it as the form (positive or negative) in which we value ourselves as ourselves. And it is this same branch that defines self-esteem as a major player or not in mental health. With positive self-esteem, you are more likely to have more positive thoughts about the world and yourself, a more optimistic outlook on the future, and a more subjective sense. joy.

However, self-esteem is not a fixed factor in our mind, which does not change over time and does not depend on the situations in which we live. In fact, it can go up or down depending on something we know how cognitive distortions.

When self-esteem is low …

Self-esteem can give us a chance to feel good just by feeling who we are. However, if self-esteem is negative, the effects are reversed. Not that you are responsible for the factors of these factors listed, but correlates with thoughts of its own valence, Of its own to say the least. If we have low self-esteem, it will be both a cause and a consequence of negative thoughts and perceptions.

And it is in this vicious circle that cognitive distortions, irrational ideas and negative automatic thoughts lie. The triad of mental illness, according to cognitive psychology. Briefly, we will define irrational ideas as beliefs that have no contact with reality and are harmful to ourselves (Everyone has to approve of my behavior, otherwise I’m worthless) and automatic negative thoughts like negative judgments according to the former (don’t laugh at my joke, I’m worth nothing). Cognitive distortions work by relying on these two elements to give us a distinctly biased view of what’s going on.

Where are the cognitive distortions hiding?

If we pay attention to the functioning of cognitive distortions, we see that they are nothing more than the intermediate stage between the two already described; the procedure or operation our mind does to transform irrational belief into automatic negative thinking. In other words, the way our own mind attacks us.

Let’s take a general example to simplify things.

We wake up one day full of energy and begin the routine shower, coffee and toast circuit. It’s not that there’s nothing special about the process, but it feels good. On the way to work, we reflect on the proximity of this post of section director for which we have been striving for months.

“Of course they give it to me, I deserve it,” we thought. What is our surprise when we got down to business and stumbled upon the fact that on the side of our table the business of the company has disappeared and is being transported to the vacant position of Section Director … It prepares us, but on the other hand he is a companion, and we are happy for him.

A fairly common situation, isn’t it? Let’s see what our mind would do if it followed the logic of some of the more harmful distortions.

Types of cognitive distortions

What are the main cognitive distortions? We describe them below.

1. Hypergeneration

consists of choose a particular fact, draw a general rule from it and never verify this ruleSo it’s still true. Maybe “I’ll never be good enough for the place” is what we would think if we generalized by not receiving it.

We know we are hypergenerating when we use terms that are too absolute to be true: always, everyone, none, never, no one, everything.

2. Global designation

The mechanism would be the same as above. With the same situation, the only thing that makes our mind different is giving us a global label instead of a general rule. So the thought would be: “I am a failure”.

The moment we start to use clichés and stereotypes in our behavior in insulting ways, we need to start to consider the possibility of falling into this cognitive distortion.

3. Filtered

By this type of cognitive distortion, the mind filters lived reality by selecting certain aspects and ignoring others. In the example, we would focus on losing the opportunity to stop and being useless, but we would forget about the fact that we can improve ourselves and the joy we feel for our partner.

We may be concerned about this distortion when we have repeatedly criticized ourselves for past issues, losses, injustices, or stupidity, or if these terms appear in reviews.

4. Polarized thinking

If we had committed this distortion, the example given would have started from a premise such as: “if they do not already give me the job, my professional future will be finished”. This is an absolutist way of thinking; white or black, no option for gray.

To pose challenges, objectives or realities with conditions (“otherwise…”) and contrasting options (“either they give me the place, or…”) gives us the clue to use this distortion.

5. Self-blame

It consists of thinking in such a way that the fault of the wicked always falls on ourselves, The different quees whether or not we have a real responsibility. Applied to the example, this would take the form of, “Of course if I did everything wrong how stupid I was to just dream about the place. I apologize to Pedro for thinking that he is not happy with himself “.

One symptom of this cognitive distortion is continually apologizing. We really feel guilty about something in particular and compulsively apologize.

6. Personalization

It happens in this situation where we feel guilty or somehow related to all the problems in our environment. It’s similar to self-blame, only that it monopolizes the reality of everyone around us, giving us the lead role.

In the example, the thought would be something like, “I knew that. I knew my boss swore to me not to save these clips. What I hadn’t imagined was that he was going to go. ally with Pedro to exclude me. “

7. Read the mind

As the name suggests, the error or distortion is suppose we know what the other thinks or feels about us. What really happens is that we are projecting our own emotions onto the rest; we assume that others will think or feel like us.

Cognitive distortion is particularly damaging in this case, as it consists of a constant real-time attack on self-esteem. His form would be, “Of course, it’s because I’m falling head over heels. He thinks I’m not doing enough and that’s why he’s leaving me stuck here.”

The spirit deceives us. What can we do?

In short, while it is true that this knowledge of cognitive distortions is not entirely new, it is also true that it is not a matter of public policy. Today, in a world where self-esteem has taken on a new digital dimension, we must all point out those mistakes that the human mind he tends to engage when it comes to self-esteem. The existence of cognitive distortions is a sign that, although we don’t realize it, there are processes that work silently in our body, which makes us have a simplistic version. and broken many problems.

Without going any further, the examples presented here are part of life in such a natural way that they are considered “ways of being” as if the human being were intended to complicate life. It is a mistake to think that we have no choice but to resign ourselves to evil and no longer value ourselves as we deserve.

That is why we cannot forget our personal direction in our own life and ask ourselves the key question: Now what? Are we going to leave that in a heavy reminder or will we choose to use these little brushstrokes of knowledge?

Like always, the decision is up to each of us.

Leave a Comment