The mind often acts as our worst enemy. Knowing the mechanisms it uses to increase anxiety thinking can help us deal with these states a little better and gain more control over this mental universe. The most common cognitive distortions in anxiety have one very clear purpose: to intensify the suffering.
The mind is trapped in rigid, negative thought patterns that act like a trap, quicksand into which reason, logic and internal balance sink. The world is becoming threatening and every problem, no matter how small, has no solution.
While these types of psychological dynamics are characteristic of conditions such as anxiety or depression, it should be noted that we all use cognitive distortions at some point. We have all already applied, for example, emotional reasoning that leads to ideas such as “if I am feeling awkward and incompetent right now, it is because I am incompetent”.
But beyond the fact that our minds have handled certain things in a way that is wrong and harmful to us, we spend a good deal of our time trying to stay in control. When we analyze reality more calmly, we choose to use a little more realistic (and friendly) attitude.
However, the problem comes when it is not possible for us, when the emotions are not with us. The external difficulties are very complex and our psychological resources are minimal. Under these circumstances, it is easy to end up constantly fueling these draining negative distortions.
Identifying them, knowing how they work and how to weaken them is the best strategy we can learn. Our well-being will be grateful.
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The Most Common Cognitive Distortions in Anxiety
“I can’t stand this, it’s unbearable, I’m going to go crazy”, “I’m worth nothing”, “There is nothing to do”. This type of reasoning generates a type of mental fog in which only anguish and unhappiness can be breathed. If you constantly reinforce these types of approaches, the burnout will be immense.
Cognitive distortions are essentially tricks of the mind, systematic ways in which people distort information about the environment, what happens to us and what we see. If we ask ourselves why we use this type of mechanism, the answer is more complex than it seems. Sometimes it’s because of a feedback system between the emotions and the thoughts themselves.
I feel bad and therefore I think the negative things and these thoughts feed my discomfort even more. Other times, cognitive distortions are patterns that we have almost always used without realizing it. A complicated upbringing or unattractive parents often makes us interpret things in a grueling way. If our self-esteem is also low, it is easy to find ourselves in these types of mental traps.
Think the worst to be prepared. We assume this is a good strategy when in reality all we get is devastatingly increasing our anxiety.
You say to yourself things like, “If I fail this exam, I can already give up my career, so it’s best to start assuming I’m not worth anything” or “from what’s going on, it’s clear. that things will get worse and no one will have a job ”are examples of this common cognitive distortion.
Any reasoning that begins with the terms “always”, “never”, “everything” or “nothing” applies polarized thinking. It’s those ways of dealing with the reality that everything is good or bad, where you are with me or against me, where I get what I want, or I sink because I am useless. This way of ascribing such extreme value to things without common ground is another form of very marked suffering.
Sometimes our attention has an unusual and twisted tendency: to see the negative side of life in every situation. Selective abstraction is one of the most common cognitive distortions of anxiety. It happens when we only end up with the darkest reality, when we interpret things in the most harmful ways for ourselves.
An example of this type of thinking would be, “I invited all of my office colleagues to my birthday and Alia is the only one who didn’t come. She certainly hates me and the others are only here out of obligation ”.
“If my boss is arguing with someone in the office, it will be because of something I did”, “if the cashier treats me rude, it will be because I tend to dislike them. people “,“ at work, my presentation today was a disaster, and it will surely be the case of the following ones because I’m worth nothing “.
This type of reasoning is the result of this negative internal dialogue in which we personalize every fact that we see. As if everything was our responsibility or if everything was our fault.
Arbitrary inference, the wrong guess in you
Anxiety has a tendency: to make us believe that we are the Oracle of Delphi. We take on the role of fortune tellers to accept a lot of situations. The most common are the following:
We think we know what other people think of us. So much so that our minds keep torturing us with ideas like “he thinks I’ll never get there, he doesn’t like me, what he feels is shame…”.
Likewise, it is also common to make this mistake of “forecasting the future”, of thinking that we are going to fail and that nothing will turn out well.
In conclusion, knowing what the most common cognitive distortions of anxiety are can do two things for us. First, to detect those thought patterns that fuel the discomfort. Then to understand how the human mind works and how, if it doesn’t control it and set limits, it can become our worst enemy.