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"Automatic Negative Thoughts" or Thinking Traps"

Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs) are involuntary, habitual patterns of thinking. They are often subtle and can manifest in various ways, like self-criticism, jumping to conclusions, or overgeneralizing situations. ANTs can stem from past experiences, societal influences, or even momentary emotional states, leaving us with distorted views of ourselves and the world.

"Automatic Negative Thoughts" or "Thinking Traps"

Fourtune Telling

Predicting negative outcomes with unwarranted certainty, often resulting in unnecessary worry and avoidance of potentially rewarding experiences.

"I'll never find a partner; I'm destined to be alone forever." or "I won't even bother applying for the job; they'll never hire me anyway."

Black-and-White Thinking

As known as "All-or-Nothing" thinking, his trap involves viewing situations in extreme, polarized terms, leaving no room for nuance. For example, considering yourself a complete failure just because of one mistake.

"If I can't do it perfectly, there's no point in trying at all." or "I failed once, so I'm a complete failure."

Mind Reading

Assuming we know what others are thinking or feeling without any concrete evidence. This can lead to unnecessary misunderstandings and social anxiety.

"They didn't respond to my message; they must be mad at me." or "They're looking at me strangely; they must think I'm stupid."


Drawing broad conclusions based on a single event or a few isolated incidents. For example, assuming that because you failed once, you will always fail in similar situations. This type of trap often uses words like "always" or "never" to describe situations or events. 

"I failed this test; I'm terrible at everything. or "No one ever listens to me; nobody cares about what I have to say."


Assigning fixed labels to yourself or others based on specific behaviors or mistakes. For instance, calling yourself a "failure" because of one setback.

"I'm such a loser; I can't do anything right." or ""I feel anxious right now; I'm just a weak and anxious person."


Focusing solely on the negative aspects of a situation while completely ignoring the positive aspects. This can lead to a skewed perception of reality.

"I received positive feedback, but it's probably just because they were being nice." or "I made one small mistake; now everything is ruined."


This trap involves blowing things out of proportion, assuming the worst possible outcomes without any evidence. Catastrophizing can generate anxiety and prevent us from taking risks or pursuing opportunities. Additionally, the imagined worst-case scenario rarely ever happens and even if it did, we are most likely equipped to handle it. 

"If I make a mistake, everything will fall apart." or "If I don't get this promotion, my career is ruined."


Taking things too personally and assuming that everything is a direct reflection of ourselves. This can lead to excessive guilt or shame.

"Their bad mood is my fault; I must have done something wrong." or "If they cancel plans, it must be because they don't like me."

Control Fallacies

Believing you have either complete control over every situation or no control at all, neglecting the middle ground where you can influence some aspects but not others.

"There's nothing I can do to improve my financial situation." or "If I were a better parent, my child wouldn't be struggling in school."


Constantly measuring yourself against others, leading to feelings of inadequacy or superiority.

"Everyone's life looks so exciting on Instagram, but mine is so lame." or "Everyone else seems to have their life together, but I'm such a mess."

Should Statements

Imposing rigid rules on yourself or others, leading to feelings of guilt or disappointment when these expectations are not met. This trap often includes the words: "should", "must", or "ought".  

"I should always be productive; taking breaks is lazy." or "They must agree with me; it's unacceptable if they have a different opinion."

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