Identifying your negative thinking is the first step towards letting it go. These are the common types of negative thinking. There is overlap among them, but giving each type a name makes it easier to remember them. (If you do any more reading in cognitive therapy, you may come across the term “distorted thinking.” Some authors use that term instead of negative thinking. But it sounds harsh.)
The Big Four Types of Negative Thinking
All-or- Nothing Thinking. I have to do things perfectly, because anything less than perfect is a failure.
Disqualifying the Positives. Life feels like one disappointment after another.
Negative Self-Labelling. I feel like a failure. I’m flawed. If people knew the real me, they wouldn’t like me.
Catastrophizing. If something is going to happen, it’ll probably be the worst case scenario.
Other Common Types of Negative Thinking
Mind Reading. I can tell people don’t like me because of the way they behave.
Should Statements. People should be fair. If I’m nice to them, they should be nice back.
Excessive Need for Approval. I can only be happy if people like me. If someone is upset, it’s probably my fault.
Disqualifying the Present. I’ll relax later. But first I have to rush to finish this.
Dwelling on Pain. “If I dwell on why I’m unhappy and think about what went wrong, maybe I’ll feel better.” Alternately, “If I worry enough about my problem, maybe I will feel better.”
Pessimism. “Life is a struggle. I don’t think we are meant to be happy. I don’t trust people who are happy. If something good happens in my life, I usually have to pay for it with something bad.”
Source: http://www.cognitivetherapyguide.org/negative-thinking- patterns.htm