My mind is playing tricks on me (+3 coping tips)

This article will discuss what ways your mind can play tricks on you. For that, the article will highlight what are the thoughts your mind can cause you and are ways to handle them.

My mind is playing tricks on me

The mind is a wonderful thing. It can bring you many positive thoughts, but at times it can also play tricks on you. It can make you forget things, or not notice small details in situations. It can cause you to make mistakes, or put you at risk of getting sick.

You can think it is just a simple mistake, or even believe what your brain is telling you. Those tricks the mind can play on you are called cognitive distortion. 

Our brain can do that for various reasons, but it is important to be aware that this can happen, not necessarily so you can avoid it, but question your brain sometimes. 

That is because your thoughts have a direct connection to how you feel. If you engage in more positive thinking, you may experience positive emotions more frequently, but if you usually have more negative thoughts, then in reality negative feelings might be more frequent. 

That is the importance of knowing cognitive distortions. They can even relate to mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression. Let’s discuss what are common cognitive distortions. 

What are the most common tricks your mind can play on you

Being aware of the tricks your mind plays on you is the first step to handling it in your day-to-day life. Through that, you might be able to prevent mental health conditions. These are the most common cognitive distortions.

The black and white line of thought 

Having a line of thought that is divided only in black and white, right and wrong, or all or nothing can be too painful. It can give you the notion that you need to be perfect, or a complete failure. And that can be overwhelming.


Overgeneralization is the notion that because something negative happened once, everything will have the same outcome. For example, you can fail a test once, but overgeneralization will make you believe that you will fail every test you ever take.

Keeping in mind the negative 

Keeping in mind the negative will make you pay attention only to the negative things around you. You may go to a party, be surrounded by friends, in a situation that would be a lot of fun, but you only focus on the negative, it can be a chair that seems uncomfortable or the drink that is not good enough.

Erasing the positive 

Your mind also plays tricks on you not only when it makes you focus on the negative, but also by erasing the positive from your perspective. In the situation used as an example above, you wouldn’t necessarily focus on the uncomfortable chair or the drinks that are not good. 

But you would be unable to focus on your friends and the fun you could be having.

Jumping to conclusion 

Jumping to a conclusion means you can assume something without even basing it on concrete facts. There is the form of jumping to conclusions known as mind-reading, in which you assume other people’s behavior is an answer to something you did. 

Another form of jumping to a conclusion is fortune teller, in which you can convince yourself that you will only experience negative things in your life.

Expecting the worse 

When you are constantly expecting the worst or catastrophizing, you might have a negative thought pattern, and think bad things will always happen to you, discarding the positive.

Believing the lie 

Your mind can make you believe in horrible things about yourself. When you believe that, it can bring damage to your self-esteem and self-worth. As a way of not being so affected by it, you should learn how to distance yourself from those thoughts.

Hypothetical statements 

Thinking about what you should or shouldn’t do, of how things should or not be, can only raise your expectations to an unreal level. And if you fail, you can have a huge negative effect on yourself.


Judging yourself based on your mistakes or success can be a heavy load. You lose touch with the idea that you, as a human, are a complicated creature. And there is a lot between success and failure.

Taking all the responsibility

Your mind can play a trick on you when it makes you responsible for everything that goes on around you, even when you don’t have any control over what happened. 

How to handle the thoughts your mind is tricking you into

The first thing, when dealing with the tricks your mind plays on you, is to be aware. Notice when those thoughts come, what they cause in you. They are usually thoughts that come out of nowhere, but distancing yourself from the negative emotions they can bring is extremely important for your mental health.

If you feel it is hard for you to step away from them, and the patterns they create, on your own, looking for professional help is the way to go. In therapy, you will have a safe space to share those cognitive distortions, try to understand what triggers them, and create strategies to not succumb to them.

If you’re facing this, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a therapist or other mental health professional. You can find a therapist at BetterHelp who can help you learn how to cope and address it.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): How can I handle my mind playing tricks on me? 

How can I confuse people? 

There are some tricks you can do when you want to confuse people. If you want people to believe a story you are saying, tell them to people in 3 different moments. 

When you are in a discussion with people and want them to feel confused, you may want to speak in a lower voice register than they are speaking. This can cause them to get even more agitated and say something inappropriate.

To negotiate something with someone, you can try to remain silent. For example, if you are negotiating pay for a job, as soon as they ask you how much you want, say your price, and be quiet. To break the silence, HR may take you up on your offer.

How can I trick my brain into believing in something? 

If you want to change a thought pattern, it can take some work, but it is possible. The first thing you need to do is to engage in positive thinking. It is not possible to abolish all the negative thoughts, but try to keep in mind the positive aspects of yourself.

Even when people may say it is not possible, don’t believe it. Keep your goal in mind, and follow your advice to get there. For that, you should have a clear direction of what you want, and what are things that have held you back before. This way you can determine the best course of action.

When you want to change a thought line, don’t worry too much about how you will do it, this can make you worry too much, and that can get in your way. When you are working on that, keep a mantra that you can repeat to yourself when you feel like you are losing your perspective. This will keep you motivated.

How can I calm anxiety? 

There are some ways you can calm your anxiety. One of them is watching what you drink. Too much caffeine and alcohol can make you feel more anxious. As for alcohol, you may want to take it to take the edge off when you are feeling anxious, but keep in mind that it will make you feel worse afterward.

Aside from that, writing your feelings out can help you calm yourself down. It will allow you to externalize your thoughts and emotions, to a point it reduces your stress level. 

You can also practice meditation and mindfulness to manage your anxiety. It will allow you to focus on the moment, instead of the racing thoughts in your head.

While practicing those techniques, you can also use Lavender fragrance. They are known for having a calming property. You may also talk to people that go through the same thing as you, it can be in support groups or friends that also have anxiety. This will make you feel less alone in your suffering. 

Exercising is also a great way to manage your anxiety. It will allow you to put your energy into what you are doing and focus on something else besides your anxiety. You can also take a warm bath when you feel anxiety crippling. It will help relax, not only your muscles but your mind as well.

How can I trick my brain into doing something I don’t like? 

The first thing to do, when you have to do something you don’t want to do, is to think about why you need to do it. This can help you relate to it better. You can allow yourself to try and do it, it doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to be done.

Keep in mind that we all do things we don’t like sometimes. And allow yourself to divide your task into small parts, and set a schedule for each of the parts. Taking it all one step at a time will allow you to not feel overwhelmed.

Remember you are already doing something you don’t like, you don’t need to put yourself through an insane amount of pressure to do it. Be compassionate of yourself, but don’t let your brain take control. 

Our brain is usually lazy and wants to focus only on things that give you pleasure. While you do it, keep a positive attitude, this will help you feel better while you do it.

Can the brain trick you into feeling pain?

Yes, your brain can trick you into feeling pain, but also into feeling pain relief. Pain perception is processed in the frontal region of the brain. This is also the area of the brain that is responsible for expectations. This shows how much the expectation for pain can also make the pain feel worse.

Indicating how your brain can impact the perception you will have on pain. This also shows how unexpected pain can hit you stronger than one you can prepare yourself to. You can also feel a decrease in your pain if you notice someone is being supportive to it or taking care of it.


This article discussed why your mind is playing tricks on you, and what are the ideas it usually brings you. Along with that, the article showed ways people can handle those thoughts.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write it in the section below.


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