More than 14 million books
Published over a period of 125 years (1855 – 2019)
In 3 languages (English, German, Spanish)
Add machine learning and algorithms that tirelessly seek and identify textual markers of “cognitive distortions” — thinking patterns associated with anxiety and depression — for researchers to analyze.
The interdisciplinary team of researchers found that the language records show a surge of cognitive distortions since the 1980s.
In fact, entire societies may be getting more depressed — and this may correlate with new technologies and “social” media.
Before you say, “I knew it; I just had a feeling” — just consider if that may indicate a cognitive distortion…
Find information on the cognitive distortion schemata used in the study here, and below a brief overview:
12 Cognitive Distortions
Exaggerating the importance of negative events
Examples: “will go wrong” and “will never end”
2. Dichotomous Reasoning
Thinking that an inherently continuous situation can only fall into two categories
Examples: “everything” and “nothing”
3. Disqualifying the Positive
Unreasonably discounting positive experiences
Examples: “good but” and “not that good”
4. Emotional Reasoning
Thinking that something is true based on how one feels, ignoring the evidence to the contrary
Examples: “because it feels” and “because I feel”
Making predictions, usually negative ones, about the future
Examples: “I will not” and “it will not”
6. Labeling and Mislabeling
Labeling yourself or others while discounting evidence that could lead to less disastrous conclusions
Examples: “I am a(n)…” and “They are a(n)…”
7. Magnification and Minimization
Magnifying negative aspects or minimizing positive aspects
Examples: “best” and “worst”
8. Mental Filtering
Paying too much attention to negative details instead of the whole picture
Examples: “all I can see” and “completely wrong”
Believing you know what others are thinking
Examples: “she thinks” and “he does not believe”
Making sweeping negative conclusions based on a few examples
Examples: “always” and “nobody ever”
Believing others are behaving negatively because of oneself, without considering more plausible or external explanations for behavior
Examples: “because of me” and “because I”
12. Should Statements
Having a fixed idea on how you and/or others should behave
Examples: “should” and “has/have to”
Beyond books, let us recognize that in the hyperconnected worlds today, more and more individual consciousnesses are regularly dipping into or soaking in social media and other virtual spaces where cognitive distortions (from the subtle to the obvious) run rife.
Studying this list of cognitive distortions, we can reflect with more precision on the many ways that we might mislead ourselves (or allow ourselves to be misled) into thinking patterns that diminish well-being and harm mental health.
The mind can flow in different directions. Refreshingly, we may glimpse and then clearly see the many ways to improve the quality of thinking patterns for holistic wellness.
When ready to delve deeper (and be prepared; it is a deep dive), to get to the source and detach the distortions from their roots: we can learn how to clear up the kleśa (mental states that cause suffering), particularly: ignorance, aversion, and attachment.❂
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