Warped Thinking: Mental Filter

Welcome to the fifth and final post in our Warped Thinking series. In this series we have looked at ways we think that may lead us to less desirable outcomes as well as techniques to help us combat them. Today’s blog post focuses on a type of warped thinking that often leads to negative feelings about ourselves.

Believe it or not, there is an invisible filter which between your brain and the world which keeps you from viewing events accurately. This mental filter decides what events you recognize as important everyday. This is crucial to your brain as the amount of information that comes in could quickly overwhelm you without the filter to help you decide what to pay attention to.

For some of us, our mental filter doesn’t just keep out excess information, it keeps us from recognizing the positive things which happen to us. When this happens, we start to get an inaccurate view of the world and our own abilities, leading to sadness and feeling discouraged.

When this mental filter is in use, we are quick to accept anything which we perceive as negative without questioning it. At the same time, we dismiss anything we perceive as positive as a fluke or anomaly. By doing this, we tend to start believing that only negative events are happening to us.

If we can’t see this filter, how do we combat it?

A good technique is to keep a log of all of the positive and negative things that happen as they happen. You can do this for a week or a month. As you document each event, it gives you a better idea of the ratio between negative and positive experiences in your life. You are likely to find that the positive actually outstrips the negative by a fair amount.

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