Dichotomisation, also referred to as all or nothing thinking refers to the tendency to evaluate one’s persona qualities in extreme black or white categories.

Dichotomisation is a cognitive distortion which means it keeps us from seeing the world as it often is: complex, yet full of all the shades in between.

Most of us engage in dichotomous thinking from time to time, but it becomes a cognitive distortion when we do it on a regular basis. Dichotomisation hurts your physical and mental health, sabotages your career and causes disruption in your relationships. 

Certain words can alert you that your thoughts are leaning towards dichotomisation. 

  • always
  • never
  • impossible
  • disaster
  • furious
  • ruined 
  • perfect

Practicing mindfulness helps with minimising dichotomisation. See our previous post on mindfulness.

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