It can take a particularly rough morning and turn it into “I have the worst luck in the world!” or a slightly strange look from a stranger becomes “he /she doesn’t like me” or a myriad of other negative thoughts. 

These types of thoughts are the result of cognitive distortions, and they can be awful for your mental health. They can reinforce negative emotions like anger and frustration, and perpetuate mental health issues such as anxiety and depression 

Taylor's exactly like me. She was put down for the whole of her teenage years and now she’s constantly winning.

Conor Maynard

Research suggests that cognitive distortions are a part of the brain’s survival mechanism and are useful in protecting us in dangerous short-term situations. However, in the long term, they wreak havoc on our mental health. Interestingly, people who’ve been through severe traumatic events are more prone to cognitive distortions.

5 Common Cognitive Distortions That Can Steal Your Joy

  1. Black-and-White Thinking
    The official name for this distortion is polarized thinking. It refers to an inflexible type of thinking that sees things as either all good or all bad and makes people believe that they’re either perfect or a total failure. 

  2. Overgeneralization
    This type of thinking exaggerates a situation by turning it into a generalized pattern that goes something like this, “I always make mistakes.” 
  3. Catastrophizing
    Catastrophizing is common in people with anxiety and panic disorder. It involves expecting the worst-case scenario in any given situation and overreacting to the scenarios you’ve made up in your mind. 

  4. Personalization
    This is where you blame yourself for everything, even things that are clearly not your fault. You may also believe you’re being singled out or targeted when something bad happens to you, which makes anxiety and depression worse.

  5. Ignoring the Positive
    This distortion filters the positive and focuses on the negative. It causes you to focus on the one thing that went wrong instead of the many things that went well. 

Know your limits

Did you come here for something in particular or just general Riker-bashing? And blowing into maximum warp speed, you appeared for an instant to be in two places at once. We have a saboteur aboard.

Caregivers tend to underestimate how long something will take; this is a recipe for stress. If you overbook and overschedule yourself to the point of feeling frazzled by noon every day, your health will suffer. Take a good long look at your schedule and do your best to overestimate how long things will take. 

If you end up with a few free minutes, you can easily fill them, which is better than scrambling to get too many things done in too little time. Also, remember to get enough sleep. Burnout happens faster if you’re not taking good care of your health. Even if you have a lot to do during the day, set a firm bedtime for yourself and your loved one, and do your best to stick to it. Anything that isn’t an emergency can wait until the next day. 

But what sets me apart now is being solo and it would be a drastic mistake to join the gang and be like everyone else

Conor Maynard