Coronavirus And Cognitive Distortions

Michael Patanella
Thoughts And Ideas
Published in
4 min readApr 1, 2020


Psychelops; Pixabay

With everything going on in the world right now, it seems like a great and fitting time to reflect back on Cognitive Distortions. I couldn’t think of a better time to review just what a few of those distortions are, and what they all mean. These modern times today are loaded with distortions of all kinds, and they are in major connection with coronavirus news and information.

It’s a perfect opportunity to take some time and learn about them. Learning about these cognitive issues can do nothing but help each of us as we go forward and do what’s best for us and our loved ones. If some are already proficient in this type of education, believe me, a refresher course for this type of knowledge that relates so strongly to our self, and our cognitive health, is always a valuable tool. No matter how many times we’ve been refreshed.

One of the most common distortions that crosses most of our paths at some point in our lives is Catastrophizing. Its name says it all, and it is an issue that will come up a lot during this coronavirus pandemic. It’s basically defined as seeing the very worst in everything.

Geralt; Pixabay

I think that definition adds a bit of vagueness to the truth in all of that. Because seeing the very worst in everything, is a phrase that goes against saying that everything in life has very good, and very bad to it. It’s an example of imbalance. We can’t catastrophize everything nor should we brush serious things off.

This distortion can also be an inaccurate way of exaggerating. It may bend the truth, or blatantly just tell a lie.

When you look at this pandemic, I don’t believe that any amount of catastrophizing is the right thing to do. Because it is that type of reaction, that is being done based on something that may potentially be untrue. Or a total misunderstanding of what’s going on.

The key to defeating this, is finding out the real solid truth behind whatever is going on. Now how can that be done with a pandemic? That, I’m not always sure how. It’s a matter of fact finding from the most reliable sources possible. One way to help that is to eliminate politics from the views and research being done. Catastrophizing is just not a good idea. Even when something is bad or dangerous. The risk of panic can be present. Which is a whole other problem.

We have to also me mindful during these harder times, and not allow the next distortion which is called Jumping To Conclusions, to take us over either. This one is really about determining a situation, or a situations outcome with no factual basis or evidence. Actually, evidence is often missing from these erratic conclusions we jump to.

Many of us can take a pandemic like the coronavirus, and dive deep into the internet and other outlets for heavy duty “researching.” The problem with that can often be rather obvious, in that we may not necessarily know the real facts, from the exaggerated extreme. Often times the provider of information may have a political leaning that they throw into the mix. And a person’s political view may help a decision be made that may not have a solid backing of true evidence.

The outlets we are using can themselves be guilty of sensationalized advertising. We can jump to conclusions based on facts that are merely artificial. From there we can falls into other cognitive distortions, like the first one mentioned, catastrophizing.

iXimus; Pixabay

We can get to a place of total unbalance.

The next distortion is called Magnification and Minimization. This takes us to both sides of the spectrum, and leaves us with two unhealthy extremes.

We will have the people who are overly magnifying it and buying a hundred rolls of toilet paper. Then the other side will see people minimizing the situation like coronavirus. and they neglect important things like keeping hands washed, and practicing social distancing.

We have to approach this scenario with as much balance as possible. There are endless amounts of cognitive distortions that are out there, and maybe just everyone can relate to this subject matter. The pandemic can create unbalanced and negative thinking, that gets nowhere but to pessimism logic. It can be hard to see the light that is at the end of the tunnel, and it can seem so easy to just avoid our own logic.

We have been given good guidelines, and advice on what type of tools to use to make this pandemic die down with hurting as least amount of people as possible. Don’t be careless and create risky situations. But at the same time, don’t live in fear, as a prisoner in your own head either.


Pixels 2013; Pixabay

Michael Patanella

is a Trenton, New Jersey Author, Publisher, Columnist, Editor, Advocate, and recovering addict, covering topics of mental health, addiction, sobriety, mindfulness, self-help, faith, spirituality, Smart Recovery, social advocacy, and countless other nonfiction topics. His articles, publications, memoirs, and stories are geared towards being a voice for the voiceless. Hoping to reach others out there still struggling.



Michael Patanella
Thoughts And Ideas

Author, Publisher, and Editor. I cover mindfulness, mental health, addiction, sobriety, life, and spirituality among other things.