The way you think is informed by established beliefs you have about the world around you. And sometimes those beliefs are distorted.
Do you tend to pick out the negative details in a situation or conversation and magnify those while filtering out the neutral or positive? This cognitive distortion is known as Filtering.
Do you prefer to make situations black or white because greys are too difficult to navigate? This is known as Polarized or Black and White Thinking.
Do you take a negative aspect of a situation then come to an erroneous conclusion? This is known as Overgeneralization.
These are just a few cognitive distortions. As with other things in life recognizing our mistakes is the first step. With CBT, ACT and Mindfulness, you can learn to recognize these distorted beliefs and/or thought patterns and learn the techniques to correct them.
So why should you care if you think or feel this way? As cognitive distortions are based on erroneous beliefs we have about ourselves, the world or both, they will have an impact on your mental health. But they can also have an impact on your social life, romantic interests, career and/or job. How you feel is directly related to how you think. And how you think affects your actions and what you avoid.
Along with anxiety, Cognitive Distortions can also put you at risk for depression.
The following link is a helpful list of the 15 most common cognitive distortions.