Community Magazine

8 Types of Negative Thinking

By Survivingana @survivingana

There are 8 types of negative thinking:

  1. All-or-nothing thinking (absolute) - Also called “black-or-white thinking”. There’s no middle ground. (“If I’m not perfect, then I must be a failure.”)
  2. Overgeneralization - Taking a single negative experience and generalizing, expecting it to hold true forever. (“I can’t do anything right.”)
  3. The mental filter - Focusing on the negative and ignoring the positive. Focusing on one thing that went wrong, rather than at least balancing it with things that are going right.
  4. Diminishing the positive - Coming up with reasons why positive events don’t count (“My friends say I’m smart, but I think they’re just being nice.”)
  5. Jumping to conclusions - Making negative interpretations without actual evidence. You act like a mind reader (“He must think I’m pathetic.”) or a fortune teller (“I’ll be stuck in this deadend job forever.”)
  6. Emotional reasoning - Accepting your “feelings” as if they are reality. (“I feel like such a loser. I really am no good!”)
  7. ‘Shoulds’ and ‘should-nots’- Making a strict set of rules of what you should and shouldn’t do, and berating yourself if you don’t live up to your rules.
  8. Labeling - Labeling yourself based on mistakes and perceived shortcomings (“I’m a failure; an idiot; a loser.”)

We can have one or several of these types. They can spiral us into depression and are a part of eating disorder thinking – particularly the all or nothing thinking. The thoughts discourage healing and recovery. Working with your therapist and recognising for yourself the thought patterns is the key.

My post from Laurie Glass describes how she moved through and forward from negative thoughts.

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