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  • Writer's pictureTomeki Davis

Day 22 - Mental Health Awareness Month (Cognitive Distortions)

be aware of cognitive distortions?

Good morning and welcome to Wellness Wednesday, the 22nd day of Mental Health Awareness Month. It’s great to see you again. I’ll try not to take up too much of your time so let’s get started.


Our topic of focus this week has been perception It’s our hidden superpower that quietly shapes many areas of our life. When our perception tends to be positive, or good, life tends to be good also. We typically have a better knack for rolling with the punches that life throws our way and that flexibility generally produces a better outcome in our lives daily. However, when our perception tends to be negative, or bad, it can get downright ugly.


Have you ever wondered why some people seem to always be a Negative Nancy or Ned? You comment to them that it’s a beautiful day and they reply with something like, “I just got stung by a bee when I was out there.” Or you compliment their outfit and they reply that with something self-deprecating. It may not be all Nancy’s or Ned’s fault. It’s possible that their perception is being obstructed by cognitive distortions.


Think of cognitive distortions as the distant cousins to rose colored glasses. Instead of making everything appear sunny and bright, cultivating an optimistic mindset, cognitive distortions make everything look cloudy and gray, creating a negative mindset and outlook on life. Cognitive distortions act as internal filters in our brain, finding the negative aspects to nearly everything we encounter. They are irrational thought patterns that become intensified by associated thoughts and emotions. Although the logical part of our brain tells us that the automatic negative thought we are having is not true, cognitive distortions tell a different, more compelling story that fuels our anxieties. They often cause difficulties in many areas of a person’s life and contribute to low self-esteem. Cognitive distortions become a part of our brain’s hardwiring creating a habitual way of thinking that is hard to for the impacted person to recognize.


The good news is that we can rewire our brain, thus reducing cognitive distortions and, essentially, changing our perception. Start by learning how to recognize the distorted thought. They are usually discouraging in nature. Examples of this type of thinking are “I always fail at (fill in the blank)” or “I’m never going to find someone who likes me.”  When the thought occurs, instead of trying to label it as good, bad, or anything else, simply acknowledge it. For today, practice just noticing any negative thoughts. If you’d like, make a note of these thoughts and set the note aside. Next, we will learn how to challenge cognitive distortions to rewire our brain and change our perception. See you tomorrow!

Mental Health Awareness Month

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