Cognitive distortions series: negative mental filtering

August 20, 2020

This is part of a series looking at the most common cognitive distortions, how they show up, and what you can do to start becoming more aware of them in a personal, career and team context that I originally posted on Instagram. You can read more about cognitive distortions and find links to other posts here.

What is negative mental filtering?

Negative mental filtering is ONLY noticing the negatives of something and failing to recognise the positives. When someone's negative mental filter kicks in, not only do they not celebrate the positives, but they actually struggle to see them.

How mental filtering shows up

Focusing on the negative side of situations can leave you believing that you're not making progress and feeling demotivated. Research shows that a consistently negative view of yourself and the world around you can lead to a feeling of hopelessness and an increased likelihood of depression.

How it might show up for you:

In your life

Your hair, body, eyes and clothes look great in a photo. All you see is the small spot on your nose. You make sure nobody ever sees it.

In your career

You get great feedback from an interview - they're impressed. You don't get the job. You don't recognise the praise and stop looking for a new job.

In your team

Your team gives a presentation to a client and 95% of the response is positive. The team spends the next 2 days talking about the other 5%

Challenge your thinking by

Remember that no situation or person is ALL good or ALL bad. Help yourself see more of what's really going on by pretending that you're a reality TV star:

Imagine that you're being followed by a camera crew 24/7 for a new TV show. If you watched the recordings back, what positives would you see from the audience's point of view that you haven't already noticed?

This can be a really fun team activity, with each team member given the chance to role play the camera man and give their perspective. Whether doing it alone, or as a team, you could sketch out a simple story board (looks a bit like a comic) to show the key 'scenes'.

Book your FREE 30 minute call now if you'd like coaching support to stop negative mental filtering from holding you or your team back from goals.

Come and say hi! You can connect with me on Instagram (Rachel @ Rachel Lee Coaching) and LinkedIn too.