Black and White Thinking Worksheet

black and white thinking

Distorted thinking, or cognitive distortions, are ways of thinking that are self-sabotaging, wrong, or emotionally damaging.

One of the most common cognitive distortions is black-and-white, or all-or-nothing, thinking. It's when our thoughts bounce between two extremes while ignoring the middle.

I use to live in those extremes and when I started working on my anger/anxiety/depression working on black-and-white thinking was one of the first things I did. I had to learn how to balance myself (this is called emotion regulation in DBT).

Pretty much everyone has black-and-white thinking.

Sometimes it shows up in small ways: You try something new for the first time and you're just no good at it, you might think that you should stop immediately. You're working in the extremes of if you can't do it well, you're not going to do it at all, and you're completely ignoring the 'gray area' that says you can practice and improve.

Sometimes it shows up in big ways: You make a mistake at work and decide you're never going to be good enough for the position so you quit. The 'gray area' is that the mistake was fixable, you could learn from it, and one mistake doesn't define all of your ability.

These worksheets go through more examples, ask you to take a step-by-step look at your own black-and-white thought patterns, and then walk you through how to begin to change how you see those situations. You are not stuck in these self-sabotaging thought-loops. I used to think I couldn't change anything about my thoughts, but with practice, you definitely can.

black and white thinking
black and white thinking

Here's What's Inside!

-14 page PDF (with a black and white version for easy printing!)
- What is Black and White Thinking?
- Examples of B&W Thinking.
- How a 10-point scale can help.
- Changing your thought patterns.
- A worksheet for when you're in the moment.
- A worksheet for reviewing B&W Thinking in your life.
- Digging deeper into where those feelings come from.

With all of my products, not only can you download them and print them out, but you can also fill them in straight from your computer or phone. With your phone, apps like XoDo or GoodNotes allows you to "write" inside the PDF, so you can carry it around with you whenever you need it! You can also have the PDF printed from someplace like Staples or FedEx, if you'd prefer a physical copy!