To this point, we’ve figured out what anxiety is and how it can affect us. We’ve also discovered that according to CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), it is typically caused by our negative thought processes. CBT terms these automatic negative thoughts cognitive distortions.
I’ll refer back to my trusty Merriam-Webster dictionary again in defining the word distortion: a distortion is the act of twisting or altering something out of its true, natural, or original state.
So, a cognitive distortion is a thought that is twisted or, in other words, not based in reality.
But Don’t Worry
Cognitive distortions can be tricky because they creep in our minds without us noticing and make us feel totally yucky (and sometimes completely out of control)! However, the good news is that once we are able to “catch” them when they are happening in our minds, we can start working on changing them! And once we practice the ability to change our negative thoughts, we can start to FEEL better.
Throughout the next few posts, I will identify and describe some of the typical cognitive distortions. As you read on, you may begin to realize you use/do some of these, but remember friends, this isn’t meant to make you feel “bad” or guilty! We all do this at times, and being able to recognize them in ourselves allows us to work on changing them so we end up feeling less anxious.