Patrick's Corner

Mental Filter

Mental Filter

Mental Filters are some of the most common things we do when we're depressed. When we're struggling, we tend to see the worst in ourselves and others. I got a 92% on a test. That 8% though, man, I really messed that up!

Like I said, we do this most often when we're depressed. Let's say you're giving a presentation and a person walks out and never returns. Someone under a mental filter will say, "Oh no that person walked out, my presentation must be so awful," whereas most people may feel perturbed by the walking out, but won't doubt their abilities unless, say, the entire audience clears out!

Funny thing is, a lot of psychologists do this to themselves when in graduate school and when teaching, so if you do this, you're not alone. I did this all the time before I got with a therapist. This and catastrophizing were my bread and butter!

If you notice that you catastrophize things, ask yourself, "Would a more secure and less anxious person fall down a rabbit hole for making the same mistake?"

Disqualifying the positive

disqualifying the positive

This one is a bit like a mental filter which is why they are placed in the same page. When we want to see negative, we will, and when we think that all of the positives are covered up by a sea of negatives, we'll see that too. Why? Well, because we engaged in disqualifying the positive. "My good deeds don't count because something or other that doesn't make much sense to the outside world but makes sense in my world. I never got a ticket before, but this one ticket is the end all be all of my driving ability because... reasons."

I did this when I was entering college and graduate school. I got a good grade on the project, but, well, the project was easy and I didn't need to try. Or worse, I would say maybe my teachers are passing me out of pity. Um, no. Teachers pass you based on the work that you do.

But you know the great thing about combating these toxic thoughts is that once they're gone, it's harder for them to take hold. Once you accept the positive, it feels great and you forget why you were so worried in the first place! So be kind to your positives! They're kind to you!

What are some ways you have qualified the positive, combated any mental filter, or have you been stuck trying? Tell us in the forms section.

Here is a video to bring home some of these points

Click on a link to learn more
All or Nothing & Overgeneralizing
Jumping to Conclusions & Magnification / Minimization
Emotional Reasoning & Shoulds
Labeling & Personalization
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This site is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. If you believe you need more help, please seek counseling with a qualified professional counselor.