Are you in a distortion field?

This is the best article I’ve seen describing the main cognitive distortions we humans habitually get caught in. Cognitive distortions are mental habits like catastrophizing, black-and-white thinking, and emotional reasoning, and they tend to amplify stress, conflict, and low mood. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with them so you can catch yourself as you’re heading down a rabbit hole that’s likely to cause you unnecessary suffering.

Cognitive distortions and rumination go together like a malign batch of chocolate and peanut butter. When we’re ruminating, we’re usually engaging in some kind of cognitive distortion. If you notice yourself ruminating, you can ask yourself to name the cognitive distortion that’s making your thoughts sticky. And if you catch yourself in a cognitive distortion, you can ask yourself if you’re in a rumination loop that’s keeping the cognitive distortion in place.

Either way, when you catch yourself in a distortion field, be kind to yourself about it. Cognitive distortions may be unhelpful, but they’re also incredibly common and normal. The more stress we’re under, the more susceptible we are to them. If you notice that you’re getting caught in cognitive distortions more often lately, it may be a sign you need more rest, support, or to back off on ways you might be pushing yourself too hard. If you’re having trouble untangling from cognitive distortions, working one-on-one with someone, even for a short time, can be quite helpful.