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This kind of filter can ruin your day

This article was originally published by All Mental Health, a technology-driven nonprofit with a mission to increase access to cognitive behavioral therapy skills. Welcome back to another episode of All the Tricks Your Brain Plays on You. Today, we’re talking about filtering. With this brain trap, your mind is like a strainer that filters out all the […]

This article was originally published by All Mental Health, a technology-driven nonprofit with a mission to increase access to cognitive behavioral therapy skills.

Welcome back to another episode of All the Tricks Your Brain Plays on You. Today, we're talking about filtering.

With this brain trap, your mind is like a strainer that filters out all the positive aspects of a situation. And what does it let through? All the negativity, worry, and criticism.

Imagine you just gave an important presentation. Afterwards, your friends are gathered around you. Here's their feedback:

  1. Wow, you did such a great job.
  2. That was really interesting.
  3. I thought the end was a little confusing–but otherwise it was great!
  4. You have such a great speaking voice.
  5. Way to go.

How might your brain interpret this feedback when you're filtering? Let's take a look:

  1. Wow, you did such a great job.
  2. That was really interesting.
  3. I thought the end was a little confusing–but otherwise it was great!
  4. You have such a great speaking voice.
  5. Way to go.

I thought the end was a little confusing–but otherwise it was great!

I thought the end was a little confusing

THE PRESENTATION WAS A FAILURE. IT WAS INCREDIBLY CONFUSING!

If this looks familiar, your brain probably has experience filtering out the positive, and focusing on the negative. And that can lead to some pretty intense anxiety.

Luckily, thought challenging can help you challenge these brain tricks to help you start thinking in a way that lets all the information through (not just the negative).

Go on, try thought challenging for yourself.

Or, check out other common brain tricks your brain could be playing, like black and white thinkingfortune telling, or personalizing.

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