Distorted Thinking May Be Holding You Back

Distorted Thinking May Be Holding You Back

It can be common have a catastrophizing way of thinking. What does this mean? It means that the individual tends to overanalyze everything and believes that something is bound to go wrong. This negative thinking results in the individual suffering from anxiety when even the smallest thing goes wrong. This could lead to even more things going wrong, thus forming a vicious circle.

Cognitive psychologists pay close attention to ‘cognitive distortions’ which is the mind’s way of convincing the individual of something that is not true. These are distorted thoughts which reinforce negative thoughts and emotions. The individual may tell themselves things that sound accurate and rational but only end up making them feel bad about themselves.

Cognitive Distortions Holding You Back


Filtering occurs when the individual takes the negative details of a situation and magnifies them, while filtering the positive aspects of the situation. Focusing or dwelling on the one negative occurrence causes the individual’s vision of reality to be distorted.

‘Black and White’ Thinking

Also known as the all or nothing approach. For example, either the individual will go to the gym to work out 7 days a week, or will not go at all. This mentality of perfection doesn’t work, because no one is perfect. Individuals with this kind of mentality don’t see shades of gray, and believe that every situation, every performance must be perfect. The concept of balance is difficult for them to understand.


This kind of thinking focuses on the past instead of the future. It relies on a single incident or piece of evidence that the individual clings to which validates, in their mind, never trying a particular thing again, if they failed at it the first time. Such a form of thinking reinforces an endless pattern of defeat.

Jumping to Conclusions

Jumping to conclusions means that the individual automatically assumes the worst case scenario when something negative, or out of the ordinary happens. They don’t bother to find out the truth, instead they make a conclusion on their own. This form of thinking is destructive because the individual tends to rely on assumptions but not facts.


If the individual does good things, but feels resentful that good things don’t happen to them, or that they haven’t received what is ‘fair’ in return, then they are stuck in the fallacy of fairness. The problem is that life is not fair, and the individual should learn to do good for others without expecting something in return.

The Blame Game

In this case the individual holds other people responsible for their failure or their pain. This can also be the ‘victim mentality’. The fact is that the individual is responsible for what they feel. Blaming the outside world for one’s emotions is not an effective way of controlling them.

Needless to say that cognitive distortions are not a healthy, because they rely on a distorted and irrational way of thinking. The individual must learn to understand their style of thinking and thus shift their negative thoughts.
Negative thinking can be a something a lot of young adults struggle with. At Blueprints we provide personalized programs to help resolve addictive behaviors. Call us to find out how we can support your recovery.


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