Negativity is something that everyone experiences at some point in their lives, and honestly, it’s not usually that big of a deal. But if you are constantly feeling negative, even when your life is more or less in a good place, that’s cause for concern.
Do you find yourself not being able to focus on your work, no matter how hard you may try to? Do you find yourself avoiding your relationships and responsibilities because you are not able to get out of that loop of constant negativity in your mind? And most importantly, do you feel miserable and gloomy most of the time?
If you answered yes to all these questions, then chances are your mind is getting stuck on certain mental filters or negative thinking patterns that are feeding your negative thoughts, and pushing you towards depression.
But don’t worry, as all is not lost! The best way to get out of these negative thinking patterns is by understanding what is exactly happening in your mind. The more you understand what you are going through, the better you will be able to deal with them.
Here Are 8 Common Thinking Patterns or Mental Filters That Feed Negativity and Depression
1. Polarized Thinking
In this type of thinking you view your interactions or yourself as either black and white, and you believe that there cannot be any grey areas at all. If something isn’t perfect, you consider it to be a failure. You believe that your life is either good and worthwhile to live, or it is completely miserable and worthless, with no in-between.
The majority of the time you believe that you must be perfect and then only you can have a better and happy life.
For example, in case you make any kind of mistake, no matter how minor, it makes you feel like a failure. This leads to you feeling more depressed than usual, and you keep on berating yourself emotionally. Moreover, you keep on feeling hopeless and worthless.
Another negative thinking pattern is overgeneralization. This happens when you take a single experience and consider it to be the universal truth.
For instance, you might have gotten your heart broken in the past, and now you see love and relationships in an entirely negative light. You think that just because your ex broke your heart, everybody else will. So there’s no point in being in a relationship, as it will always end badly.
This leads to you feeling lonelier, and you are unable to communicate with others because your inner thoughts are constantly battling amongst themselves.
3. Disqualifying the Positive
Those who disqualify the positive thoughts experience this negative thinking pattern, similar to mental filtering. You tend to treat positive events as flukes and choose to hang on to a more negative mindset. It’s like you think that you are just not capable of doing something good.
This is also an extreme form of polarised thinking in which you ignore all your positives and focus solely on the negatives. This cognitive distortion will automatically result in thoughts that affirm negative feelings while explaining positive ones away.
Since you ignore positive experiences, you frequently feel inadequate or unappreciated.
For instance, suppose you performed well on stage but at the back of your mind you kept thinking how you could have been better.