Cognitive distortions are systematic ways that people twist and distort information from the environment. These biases often reinforce <a href="https://www.verywell.com/how-to-change-negative-thinking-3024843" data-inlink="ACFacNX6BO7v3Pm26K0fXw&#61;&#61;" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="internalLink" data-ordinal="1">negative thought patterns</a> and can lead to increased anxiety and difficulty managing everyday stress. Most people use at least of few of these regularly, and they are a chief focus of <a href="https://www.verywell.com/cognitive-behavioral-therapy-for-gad-what-to-expect-1393177" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="internalLink" data-ordinal="2"> cognitive-behavioral therapy for Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)</a>. The following is a list of the original distortions with an example related to GAD. Ideally, one could use this list as a way to identify his/her own cognitive distortions, and challenge them by considering more realistic and rational information.<br/><br/><b>Catastrophizing</b>: taking an event you are concerned about and blowing it out of proportion to the point of becoming fearful. Example: Believing that if you fail a quiz then the teacher will completely lose respect for you, that you will not graduate from college, that you will therefore never get a well-paying job, and will ultimately end up unhappy and dissatisfied with life.<br/><br/><b>Arbitrary Inference</b>: making a judgment with no supporting information. Example: Believing that someone does not like you without any actual information to support that belief.<br/><br/><b>Personalization</b>: when a person attributes an external event to himself when there is actually no causal relationship. Example: If a checkout clerk is rude to you and you believe that you must have done something to cause it, when there is a more plausible explanation for the person’s behavior.<br/><br/><b>Selective Abstraction</b>: when a person makes a judgment based on some information but disregards other information. Example: Someone attends a party and afterward focuses on the one awkward look directed her way and ignores the hours of smiles.<br/><br/><b>Overgeneralization</b>: making a board rule based on a few limited occurrences. Example: Believing that if one <a href="https://www.verywell.com/public-speaking-skills-3024308" data-inlink="wCgfWNAUvs-8GZ5ezSJn-w&#61;&#61;" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="internalLink" data-ordinal="3">public speaking</a> event went badly that all of them will.<br/><br/><b>Dichotomous Thinking</b>: categorizing things into one of two extremes. Example: Believing that people are either excellent in social situations or terrible, without recognizing the large gray area in-between.<br/><br/><b>Labeling</b>: attaching a label to yourself after a negative experience Example: Feeling awkward at a party leads to the conclusion: “I’m an awkward person”.<br/><br/>Source: Beck, J.S. (1995). <a href="https://www.verywell.com/cognitive-therapy-for-depression-and-anxiety-2330690" data-inlink="OIqg72bNxtRgKu5DA9QMwg&#61;&#61;" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="internalLink" data-ordinal="4">Cognitive Therapy</a>: Basics and Beyond. Guilford Press.