People with depression, addictions and eating disorders may not believe that they have much in common. But at the root of many mental health problems are distorted thoughts and beliefs that chip away at the individual\u2019s self-image. An inner dialogue that includes messages such as \u201cI\u2019m not good enough\u201d or \u201cNothing ever goes my way\u201d engenders painful emotions. This combination of negative thoughts and feelings may prompt a need to escape or self-medicate with drugs, alcohol, food, sex and other risky behaviors. This self-destructive cycle can be halted through cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), a type of psychotherapy that is backed by research as a treatment for a wide range of mental health disorders. CBT is targeted at 10 common thought patterns: #1 All-or-Nothing Thinking Also known as black or white thinking, this thought pattern is grounded in extremes. One misstep on a diet is grounds for complete abandonment of a healthy lifestyle. Falling short of perfection translates into complete failure. Common vocabulary includes words such as never, always and forever instead of more accurate and realistic descriptions. #2 Overgeneralization One unwanted event or experience leads to the general conclusion that nothing ever goes right. A low grade in school, a rejection from a love interest or criticism at work can be generalized into feelings of defeat and failure. Since all other cases will be the same, you lose the motivation to take risks and keep trying. #3 Mental Filter Everything goes right but one little detail was off. Rather than feeling good and focusing on the positive, you dwell on the one negative detail. You don\u2019t choose what happens to you, but you can choose how you respond. If you filter out all of the positives, you will miss out on all of the great things life has to offer. #4 Disqualifying the Positive By disqualifying the positive, you turn even the best things in life into a negative. A good job is never good enough. Even if you achieve your goals, you minimize your accomplishments and believe anyone could\u2019ve done what you did. A common example is assuming someone compliments you only because they want something. #5 Jumping to Conclusions Even in the absence of facts, you have a negative interpretation. For example, you arbitrarily conclude that someone dislikes you despite a lack of evidence. Or perhaps you assume that something will go wrong \u2013 you\u2019ll fail a test or get passed over for a promotion \u2013 to protect yourself from possible disappointment. In most cases, these worries and fears are wholly unfounded and never come to fruition. #6 Magnification and Minimization In addition to minimizing your positive traits, you exaggerate your shortcomings or problems. Focusing on the bigger picture will help keep the minor mistakes and problems in perspective. #7 Emotional Reasoning Feelings are treated like facts in your mind, rather than subjective perceptions that change over time. For example, feelings of guilt mean you\u2019re a terrible person and being afraid of something means you\u2019re in real danger. #8 Should Statements You feel disappointed, guilty, frustrated or angry when things don\u2019t go the way you had hoped or expected. Self-talk commonly includes words such as should, must, have to and ought to. In addition to having unrealistic expectations for yourself, you demand a lot from others and get upset when they fall short. Should statements can be combated by working on the things you can change and accepting the rest. #9 Labeling and Mislabeling Labeling relies on the premise that you are what you do. Rather than describing specific actions and behaviors, you give yourself (and others) a label. For example, making a mistake earns you the label of \u201closer\u201d or \u201cfailure\u201d in your own mind. Labels are abstractions that serve little purpose other than to frustrate and lower self-esteem. Sometimes they become self-fulfilling prophecies. When directed at others, labels allow you to brand people as \u201cbad\u201d rather than recognizing a problem with their thinking or behavior (or your own). #10 Personalization An event that isn\u2019t entirely within your control becomes your fault because you hold yourself personally responsible. If a child gets a poor grade in school, the mother may tell herself that this shows what a bad mom she is instead of helping her child. Personalization commonly leads to feelings of shame, inadequacy and guilt. Some people go to the other extreme, blaming others for their problems rather than accepting their role. If you recognize these faulty ways of thinking in yourself, you\u2019re missing out on all the shades of gray that life has to offer. Negativity can infect every area of your life, leading to depression, anxiety, addictions, eating disorders and other mental health issues. Identifying these patterns and challenging yourself to a more realistic viewpoint can improve your relationship with yourself and others.