Negative Thinking Patterns and Styles-Find out which you do?

Negative thinking, everyone does it. The thoughts resulting from some type of unfortunate circumstance or situation may differ from experience-to-experience.  Also, there is likely a type, or “style”, of negative thinking that you do from experience to experience. Knowing your style of thinking helps inform you to so that you can start to change it and develop a more realistic and/or positive perspective.


Here a list with the various negative thinking styles. Which do you do most often?

All-or-Nothing, Black-and-White Thinking
Thinking in absolute, black-and-white categories. This is problematic as much of the lived experience is “grey”, rather than categorical.


When folks distorting events, interactions and experiences in a negative way towards yourself.  For example, a uninviting gesture from someone may be translated into some negative interpretation of self., ie., they clearly don’t like me, thus I’m unlikable.  We also compare ourselves to others, ie., smart, more attractive, funnier etc.


Holding others responsible for how you feel, or  you take responsibility for everything and blame yourself.

Maximizing and Minimizing

Blowing things way out of proportion, or alternatively, minimizing to the extreme. For example, getting an exam score of 99%, maximizing the 1% with “I can’t believe I missed that question, I’m so stupid”.


Thinking that disaster is always around the corner, that something bad is about to happen. There is an anticipation that something will go disastrously wrong and/or bad.

Negative events and experiences are thought of as definitive, ever-lasting and ongoing.

Jumping to Conclusions

A strong tendency to ‘know’ what people are thinking, feeling and why they are doing whatever they are doing. You might think/feel that someone is being negative towards you, and you’d be able to explain it (usually in a negative manner and reflection on yourself).

Also, some may consider a negative outcome of a future event, and act and behave as if it were a fact.

Global Labeling

Assigning a negative label to yourself, or others, based on a broad generalization on one or two qualities or characteristics.  For example, one might judge “he’s a jerk and a loser” for someone who was late to a movie by a few minutes.

Mental Filtering
Thinking that tends to dwell on negatives, ignoring and disregarding any contrary positive information

Discounting the Positive
Thinking that suggests any positive events/experiences and accomplishments were a matter of luck, rather than personal achievement.