Twisted thoughts are beliefs caused by our experiences, beliefs and social conditioning. These beliefs create a stain on the lens of our perception. Unfortunately they can distort reality and can be very unhealthy and unhelpful as they ultimately affect our contentment and happiness.
In my last article I talked about the first Twisted Thought, called “All or nothing thinking”. Today I’m going to talk to you about the second one which is called the Mental Filter. If you have this negative underlying belief you’ll be able to recognise it and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
When you have a mental filter you will pick out a single negative detail about a situation, experience or event you’re involved in and you will dwell on it exclusively. This will cause you to become more pessimistic about the situation than it really is. For example, you may receive many positive comments and compliments about a piece of work you’ve recently circulated at work, but one colleague says something mildly critical about it. You obsess about their comment for days and forget all about the positive feedback you’ve received.
To help you get a better view of reality again, I suggest that you step back from the situation and remember all the positive feedback you’ve received as well. In fact I strongly suggest you write down compliments and comments, or store them in one location in your Outlook folder, such as a folder named ‘compliments’ so that positive feedback is easily accessible in times when you’re feeling generally down about your abilities.
Hope this has helped you become aware of your mental filter and you can put it into perspective. Next time I’ll talk about the third twisted thought: Over-generalising.