Automatic Negative Thoughts Examples (5 examples)

The current blogspot wil be based on the examples of automatic negative thoughts. We will discuss the various types of automatic negative thoughts through their examples.

What are examples of automatic negative thoughts?

The automatic negative thoughts are persistent thoughts that are irrelevant and irrational. Such thoughts strike to your mind without any conscious efforts  and thus are referred to as automatic. There are no conscious efforts required for the automatic negative thoughts.

The automatic negative thoughts are based on cognitive distortions. The cognitive distortions are our errorful patterns of thinking. Cognitive distortions are also called distorted patterns of thinking.

There are the following types of automatic negative thoughts based on the cognitive distortions:

  • Personalization
  • Blame
  • Labeling
  • Polarization
  • Mental filtering
  • Jumping to conclusions
  • Fallacy of change
  • Fallacy of fortune
  • Catastrophizing
  • Shoulds
  • Emotional Reasoning
  • Overgeneralization
  • Discounting the positive

Examples of Personalization

Personalization is a type of negative automatic thoughts. Examples of personalization include: 

  • A brother believes thatI am the reason for my sister’s failure as he makes noise while playing.
  • A team member believes that It’s due to the bad luck i bring to my family that our event failed
  • In a competition a sportsman believes “Only if i had tried more our team would have succeeded”.
  • An adolescent girl thinks “Due to my bad looks nobody makes friends with me”.
  • A teenage boy believes “My parents don’t love me due to my bad complexion”.

Examples of Blame

Blaming is a cognitive distortion and the examples of automatic negative thoughts based on blaming are :

  • Due to your non serious attitude the meeting failed
  • We lost the deal due to heavy rainfall
  • It is because of my mom that i fail in exams
  • I failed interview test because my friend did not tell me in due time
  • I got sick because you made me eat the burger from a new food chain that tasted stale.

Examples of Labeling

Labeling is a type of cognitive distortion and based on labeling the examples of automatic negative thoughts include the following:

  • You are a failure because you did not come to meeting on time
  • You are a dumb child because you eat so slow
  • You are a problem child because you never get good grades
  • She is bossy because she nags for updates

Examples of Polarization

Polarization is a cognitive distortion that leads to negative automatic thoughts. Polarization examples include:

  • I hate the fact that i loved him more then myself
  • I used to like her for being concerned but now i dislike her being over concerned
  • She used to be a good friend but recently i have bad vibes whenever she is around
  • My mother is never listening to me and is not a good mother at all though she has done a lot for me and she loves me.
  • My teachers used to love me but since this new kid came to our class they have suddenly started hating me and my work

Examples of Mental filtering

Mental filtering is a cognitive distortion that leads to automatic negative thoughts that are shown in following examples:

  • A woman undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer discounts the positives and is worried that she will lose her hair.
  • A boy is unable to focus on the A+ grades he got in other subjects and is just concerned for the one subject that he got a C grade in.
  • A mother is not able to appreciate her daughters good grades that she always used to get and is concerned about the class test that she failed in due to illness
  • A boss doesn’t appreciate employees hard work and keeps shouting at him for a late delivery without notification during rainy season

Examples of Jumping to conclusions

The examples of automatic negative thoughts that arise from the cognitive distortion of Jumping to conclusion are as follows:

  • Black cat crossed our car now we will have an accident
  • I woke up late now i am not going to be employee of the month
  • My maid is not coming today my day will be a disaster
  • I did not perform well in school my parents will hate me more

Examples of Fallacy of change

The cognitive distortion of fallacy of change leads to automatic negative thoughts. The examples of automatic negative thoughts based on Fallacy of change are :

  • Sara often takes care of John’s office tasks to make him like Sara
  • Rick often tries to cook as he believes men who know cooking are more likely to be loved by independent and mature girls.
  • Mother insists the son to marry according to her choice if he is a good son
  • Colleague asks another colleague to lie to the boss on his behalf if he is a good friend

Examples of Control Fallacy 

The cognitive distortion of control fallacy leads to automatic negative thoughts. The examples of automatic negative thoughts based on control fallacy are as follows :

  • A person feels guilty and apologizes for his stuttering behavior to his friends saying “i am sorry my stuttering makes you feel uneasy and irritable
  • A mother shouts at the kid saying his pushy behavior makes her feel awkward in every social situation
  • A girl feels she is the reason of the other person feelings in the office and drains all he reneries to make her mood better

Examples of Catastrophizing

Catastrophizing is a cognitive distortion. It gives rise to automatic negative thoughts. The examples of automatic negative thoughts based on catastrophizing are :

  • A mother feeling worried that the children are late from school and an accident might have happened.
  • A daughter stays awake the whole night beside her mother to wake her up in case an earthquake occurs at night so that she is not left alone.
  • A child believing that the plane might fall and that is why he is not ready to go on family vacations
  • A girl not getting vaccinated for corona believing that she might die due to the side effects from the vaccine.

Examples of Shoulds

Examples of automatic negative thoughts under the cognitive distortion of should include:

  • A daughter ends up in a discord with her parents believing that they should love them more than her sister as she is fair in complexion
  • A student fails to go to a friend’s party believing that he should not be going there because he just failed his test a week before the party.
  • A boy believes he is not a good friend because did not allow his friend to cheat from his paper and his friend says good friends should allow cheating 
  • A mother tells her daughter that being a good daughter she should not be saying no to her elders for anything they ask her to do

Examples of Emotional Reasoning

The examples of automatic negative thoughts that arise as a result of emotional reasoning are as follows :

  • A person working in an office thinks his boss doesn’t trust him and that is why he keeps asking for updates regarding the project assigned.
  • A student wants to quit going to school because he thinks teachers do not love him as much as he deserves to be loved.
  • A wife makes emotional excuses and rationalizes for the situation where she did not get herself and kids ready for going to a family gathering with husband

Examples of Overgeneralization

Overgeneralization is a cognitive distortion that often leads to automatic negative thoughts like following examples:

  • A student whose maths teacher used to scold him in pre school started disliking all maths teachers.
  • A husband whose wife did not cook tasty food on his friend’s dinner disregards wife’s cooking experiences always
  • A patient who had an unpleasant experience with a male intern doctor believes all male doctors are not competent enough
  • A boss starts negatively evaluating her employee since the day he did not reach the meeting in time due to urgent home matters.

Examples of Discounting the positive

The cognitive distortions that are based on discounting the positives give rise to the automatic negative thoughts that are explained in following examples: 

  • A girl whose family never wanted her to pursue higher studies puts down the scholarship on merit from the government that she secured on her high achievement in PhD exams .
  • A lady coming to office despite her husband’s abusive remarks on her job feels no excitement on the positive remarks and appreciation for her good tasks in office.
  • A child disregards the stars on his copy from the teacher and continues being scared of the teacher as she scolds students for not completing work. 


The current blogspot was based on the examples of automatic negative thoughts. We elaborated on the examples of the automatic negative thoughts in terms of various underlying cognitive distortions.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs): Examples of Automatic Negative Thoughts

What are negative thoughts examples?

The examples of negative thoughts are :

  • Nothing in life works for me. I failed this interview too.
  • I am a fool as every boss thinks i am incompetent
  • You are a source of insult to our family due to your weird attitude

What are automatic negative thoughts?

Automatic negative thoughts are a person’s illogical and irrational thoughts that are based on triggering events in life.

What are some examples of automatic thoughts?

Some examples of automatic thoughts include : 

  • I will fail the exams
  • I will never be able to overcome the loss of my partner


How do you challenge negative automatic thoughts?

Negative automatic thoughts are challenged on the bases of evidence that are in favour of the thoughts and evidence that are against the thoughts.



Automatic Negative Thoughts (Examples + Treatment)