Cognitive Distortion: Overgeneralizing

Updated: May 26, 2021

Cognitive distortions are patterns of distorted thinking that can cause you to inaccurately view reality often in negative ways. These distortions often happen without you even knowing they are occurring and can cause unwanted stress. A common cognitive distortion is overgeneralizing.

Overgeneralizing is when you think of something as being always or never. For example, that something will continue to occur forever and will literally never end, or that it will never happen.

A timely example is the current global pandemic resulting from the COVID-19 virus that has been going on for more than year.

The pandemic has been for many people one of the greatest challenges of their lives. It has disrupted both their personal and professional lives in ways that couldn't have been imagined.

People have been abruptly faced with many challenges including:

  • Being at home far more than ever before

  • Not being able to visit family and friends

  • Spending far more time alone in isolation