Cognitive distortions: overcoming mental filter for moms and dads

Thank you for joining Stay-in-Bed Mom Blog (SIBMB) for an ongoing positive self-talk series. Self-love starts with positive self-talk. We’ll continue to discuss cognitive distortions, or unhelpful thinking styles, through the lens of parenthood. Last time we discussed overgeneralization. A little cognitive distortion here, a little exaggeration there isn’t going to affect your mental state in the short term. However, if your negative thinking becomes chronic, then your mental health will undoubtedly suffer.

Pessimism takes a toll on mental and physical health. Researchers conducted a meta-analysis of data from 230,000 men and women in the U.S., Europe, Israel, and Australia over fourteen years. And the subjects who characterized themselves as optimistic experienced 35% fewer major heart complications, e.g. stroke, heart attack and cardiac death, than those who didn’t. Furthermore, these optimists were 14% less likely to have a premature death by any cause, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, dementia and diabetes.

photo of woman in black turtleneck sweater posing in front of black background while looking away
Photo by Jaspereology on

What’s mental filter, mental filtering, or filter? You see only the negative in a person or situation. “Coffee cup half empty” parents take all the negative details, magnify them, and – to make matters worse – fixate on these particulars. In the current coronavirus climate, it’s hard not to mental filter.

What’s an example of mental filter? “My almost 4-year-old son can’t write his name legibly. Eek! He’s behind in reaching his milestones.” Actually, he’s ahead in some areas and striving in others.

What does mental filter look like in your mom or dad life? You dwell on your child’s areas of weakness, while ignoring his or her areas of strength. Sure, maybe your son’s fine motor skills aren’t stellar, but his math skills are phenomenal. Similarly, you focus on the negative not the positive about your parenting.

How can mental filter be harmful? A person sees only the negative while filtering out the positive. Your vision of reality can become clouded, darkened and distorted!

Am I filtering in my daily life? You may be if… you catch yourself using absolute words or phrases like…

  • I hate everything about my family.
  • I hate everything about my stay-at-home mom (fill in the blank) life.
  • I hate everything about my job.
  • I hate everything about myself.
  • There is nothing good in my life.
  • What can I do to overcome mental filter?

    Mental Filters and Panic Disorder” – Verywell Mind

    I’m not good enough. Scratch that thought! I AM mom (or dad) enough.

    What strategies have worked for you for overcoming mental filter?

    14 thoughts on “Cognitive distortions: overcoming mental filter for moms and dads

    Add yours

      1. Yes, that’s an important and interesting perspective that pragmatism is better or perhaps healthier/more sustainable than pessimism and optimism. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts. Thank you for visiting my site. I’ll be sure to check out your recommended page, thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

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