3 Cognitive Distortions that Trigger Anxiety

Hello friends! Today’s post is about recognizing three cognitive distortions that can trigger anxiety. It’s completely normal to have cognitive distortions sometimes, but if we let them control our thinking it could have negative effects on our mental health. If you can recognize these distortions right away, you can reframe your thinking so that it does not lead to anxiety.

Here are three common cognitive distortions:

  1. All or nothing thinking

    This is a common distortion that we all can identify with. All or nothing thinking is when you only consider one side of a situation, and focus only on that one aspect. Some examples of all or nothing thinking are:

    “I’m NEVER going to get this right”

    “I ALWAYS make mistakes”

    “I NEVER have anything interesting to say”

    If you notice this type of distortion, stop yourself and reframe the thought into a healthier one. Some examples of healthier reframe’s for the above thoughts are:

    “I will keep trying until I get this right”

    “Making mistakes is part of the learning process”

    “I have lots of interesting things to say when the time is right”

  2. Should’s/Must’s/Have to’s

    This is another cognitive distortion that can place a lot of unnecessary pressure on ourselves and lead to anxiety. If you notice these types of thoughts, it’s important to stop yourself when you notice then and reframe into something healthier.

    Here are a few examples:

    Instead of saying “I must clean the house tonight”, try saying, “I can choose to clean the house tonight if I want to”.

    Instead of saying “I should always get 8 hours sleep”, try saying, “I will try to get as much sleep each night that I can”.

  3. Catastrophizing