There are many different types of Cognitive Distortions, but below are the most common ones.
All-or-nothing thinking: thinking in absolute terms, such as “always”, “never”, or “every”. This is also known as “Black or White” thinking. Things are either this or that and there are no shades of gray. Examples of this would be, “I never do a good job on my work”, “Everytime I talk to them, they dismiss me”, or “I always have to be the one to do this.”
Overgeneralization: making broad interpretations from a single or few events. Examples of this would be, “I felt awkward during my first job interview. I’m always so awkward” or “I got a ‘C’ on one test so I’m stupid and a failure”.
Mental filter: this is similar to overgeneralization in that you focus on a single negative piece of information and exclude all the positive ones. For example, you focus on the one negative comment your partner made and view the relationship as hopelessly lost, while ignoring the years of positive comments and experiences.
Disqualifying the positive: recognizing only negative aspects of a situation and ignoring or rejecting the positive. For example, you might receive many positive comments on an evaluation but focus on the single piece of negative feedback. Or you dismiss the positive feedback and think that the person felt obligated to give you the compliment.
Jumping to conclusions - Mind Reading: interpreting the thoughts and beliefs of others without adequate evidence. In this distortion, you assume you know what the other person is thinking. For example, “That person is looking at me. They probably think my shirt is ugly” or “The teacher didn’t call on me, she must think that I don’t know the answer.”
Jumping to conclusions - Fortune Telling: thinking you know what will happen in the future, and that it will be bad. These conclusions are based on little to no evidence and you hold them as truth. For example, predicting that you will never find love or have a committed, happy relationship based only on the fact that you haven’t had one yet. Or thinking “I know that if I ask her out, she’s going to say no.”
Magnification (catastrophizing) or Minimization: exaggerating or minimizing the importance or meaning of events or things. Examples would be an athlete who is generally a good player, makes one mistake and believes that he is a terrible player. Or a person who believes that their own achievements are unimportant.
Emotional Reasoning: accepting one’s feelings as facts. It’s described as “I feel it, therefore it must be true.” However, just because we feel something doesn’t make it true. Examples are, “I feel like a bad friend, therefore I must be a bad friend” or “I feel ugly, so I must be ugly.”
Should Statements: thinking and believing that things have to be a certain way. These are statements that you make to yourself or others about what you “should” do, what you “ought” to do, or what you “must” do. For example, “I should have my kids in bed at the same time every night”, or “Women must get married and have children.”
Negative Labeling: having a negative belief about yourself or others and thinking it applies to everything you or they do. It’s assigning judgements of value to ourselves and others based on one instance or experience. For example, “I’m so stupid. Everything I say is dumb” or you hold the door open for someone and they don’t say thank you so you think “they are such a rude person.”
Personalization: this distortion involves taking everything personally or blaming yourself for anything that goes wrong around you, even if you had nothing to do with it. For example, “My mother is always upset. It must be because I’ve not done enough to help her.” Or “My friend didn’t have fun at the party. It must be because I did something to upset her.”
Remember that everyone has engaged in at least one of these at some time in their life. We are human and it happens. But if you find that you are engaging in them regularly, then it may be time to work on correcting them with the help of a professional mental health therapist.