7 Tiny Signs You Should Not Trust Your Mind

There are parts of yourself that you need to question.

Isolated alone woman, distrust of your mind Lisa Vlasenko, ogichobanov | Canva

When I had the idea to write this article, I thought it was ironic. A few days ago, I wrote an article arguing that you should trust your perspective and opinions. But thinking about it, I believe it is a great follow-up. You should know the parts of yourself you should trust. That was the purpose of the first article. But you should also know the parts of yourself you shouldn’t trust. And this is what this article is here to teach you.


Having parts of yourself you shouldn’t trust doesn’t contradict the idea of self-confidence (and doesn’t make you untrustworthy). On the contrary, it can increase your self-confidence as you will be more connected to the strongest part of yourself instead of the parts that weaken you. The latter are most active during the seven times we will discuss in this article. Stop listening to them. Stop weakening yourself. In short, stop trusting your mind and thoughts in these situations. We will start with the basics and then get deeper.

Here are 7 tiny signs you should not trust your mind:

1. You are lonely or isolated.

In my article "Stop Romanticizing Loneliness," I explained how loneliness clutters our brains. Lack of social connection has many consequences (one of which is lacking mental clarity). We need healthy social connections to stay sane. When we are lonely (or around the wrong people), some parts of our brains may not be as reliable as they could be. We lack mental clarity, emotional support, and the wisdom others can offer us.


The process of talking with someone (who cares about us) is different from merely thinking about something in our minds. Talking is slower than thinking. Therefore, it is easier to spot your thinking errors. It is also beneficial to articulate your thoughts to understand them or at least generate useful information from them. Merely thinking about them in your head doesn’t mean you can process them.

Having someone else’s input can be insightful. Plus, someone who cares about you will likely challenge many of your negative thoughts or at least encourage you to face them, balancing the negative voices in your head. So, talk to someone you trust and who cares about you. And don’t believe everything your mind suggests when you are lonely and can’t think clearly.

RELATED: The 7 Types Of Loneliness (And Why It Matters)


2. You are sleep-deprived.

I remember one time I had a problem. It used to cause me a lot of anxiety and uncertainty. At the same time, I was doing my best to follow a healthy lifestyle. I would wake up early, work for specific hours, and go to the gym.  All in all, my mental health was good thanks to the habits I was cultivating at that time.

I still, however, remember a night when I stayed up late. During that day, I was burdened by the problem (I don’t think I stayed up late because of it). That night, I didn’t sleep until dawn. Close to dawn, when it was almost 24 without sleeping, I started overthinking about the problem. I had the darkest thoughts and saw my nightmares coming true before my eyes. I literally could not control my mind. It was as if I had been attacked when I had no power to defend myself.

However, a video I watched saved the day. In that video, Andrew Huberman talked about how sleep deprivation affects your mood and thoughts. He stated that you should not take most of the negative thoughts you get when sleep-deprived seriously. They are just one of the consequences of sleep deprivation, which is not trivial.

Looking at some statistics, this is not a surprise. Being awake for 24 hours is similar to having a BAC of 0.10%  — above the U.S. drunk driving level of 0.08. So, it is not the best time to believe what your mind has to say. It is not the best time to (over) think about a problem in your life. Your brain will tell the nasties things about it. It is not a surprise many of your problems either totally disappear or become more manageable after a good night’s sleep.


3. You want to avoid doing important things.

Anxiety feeds on avoidance. The more you avoid something, the scarier it becomes. The scarier it becomes, the more anxiety you will feel, especially if what you are avoiding is important to you. Although avoidance gives you short-term relief, it will make your worst nightmares come true once you pile enough things behind your back. So, if your thoughts encourage you to avoid important things, do not trust them.

4. You want to do something reckless.

To balance the previous idea, you shouldn’t trust your thoughts when they are reckless. That is usually a sign you are being impulsive. If fear and avoidance are on one end of the spectrum, then courage isn’t on the other end; recklessness is. Courage is somewhere in the middle. If your thoughts encourage you to do stupid, reckless things, think again. Do not immediately trust these thoughts.

5. You feel paralyzed by your exaggerated negative emotions.

Negative emotions can be useful. They are signs you need to fix something. A call-for-action. That is one of their main purposes. When they paralyze you and stop you from taking action, they aren’t useful anymore. They are not serving their purpose. For example, let’s say I am afraid of an upcoming exam. Fear is the negative emotion my brain is using to highlight the importance of that exam and its effect on my future and career. 

Fear and anxiety (or terror and panic) are the emotions that push us to finish tasks just a few days (or hours) before the deadline. Anxiety, depression, and bad moods could be signs you are not living your life in the best way you could. Yes, they are sometimes related to traumatic events in your life, but even then, they are signs something needs to be taken care of.


But if these negative emotions paralyze you, you should not trust them. They are your friends as long as they are serving you. Once your brain starts telling you how bad something is/will be, and you start feeling helpless to the point of mental paralyzation and not taking action, stop. Do not believe your mind. Yes, it is trying to protect you. But it is not helping you.

A useful skill to learn is getting rid of the “extra amount of negative emotions”. You do this, mostly, through regulating your emotions (or nervous system). There is a cognitive element, which is about challenging your thoughts and eliminating distortions. And there is a physiological element, which is about calming your body and/or changing its state. 

Taking small steps can also be useful. If you are stuck and cannot take any action because of your negative emotions, it can be challenging to get up and do something. So, it is wise to break down what you need to do into small steps. Then, pick the easiest, most doable step and take it. Then, from there, build up and take a more challenging one.

RELATED: 5 Simple Ways To Combat Obsessive Negative Thoughts — And Become A More Positive Person


6. Your brain is calling you names and is extra critical of your behavior.

“You should not tolerate rude, critical behavior from anyone, including yourself.”

There are times when your mind becomes too pessimistic and criticizes not just your actions or choices but also who you are as a person. This can vary from someone to another, from mild to extreme. But the point is that this type of self-talk weakens you. It makes you overwhelmed. When negative emotions are excessive, they are harmful. Similarly, this negative self-talk is useless and damaging because it makes you weaker.

There is a critical, bitter, sacred, and potentially evil part of yourself. It is not you. Learn to recognize its voice. It has a specific tone. It uses certain words in certain ways. It is loud during certain times. One of the ways you recognize it is that you cannot use it to talk to someone you care about. Those are its general traits, but it is different for everyone. Learn to recognize your own. Once you recognize it and hear it speaking, acknowledge its existence. But, see it as an immature, less-developed version of yourself, and treat it as such. Just as you tell a dramatic person who is whining in the corner to get over himself, let know this voice it must shut up.


RELATED: How To Stop Criticizing Yourself, According To A Harvard Psychologist

7. You are more aggressive (or withdrawn), and your temper is shorter than usual.

A short temper is one of the very subtle signs your life is not put together. It represents itself in different ways. You can be more aggressive with those around you, especially the closest ones. You may withdraw and isolate yourself more than usual — you know, ghost everyone and sit alone in your room. You will likely become more sensitive and take some things personally. All of a sudden, you find people annoying. The little things that didn’t use to annoy you are now killing you. You get angry to the point of feeling your chest tightening when your order is late. People’s negative comments hurt more than they used to. The slightest inconvenience ruins your entire day.

When you act like this, first realize that those are just symptoms. They are signs something is wrong in your life (or something is wrong inside you, not with you). Second, remember that you should not trust the things (especially the negative ones) that your mind is telling you. Your thinking isn’t as sharp as it can be, and your short temper is why you are more sensitive. Many negative thoughts that run through your mind during such times are not accurate or useful. Most of the emotions you feel during these times are not real. They are mostly lies, exaggerations, projections, and cognitive distortions. Be mindful of that. See how it affects you and your relationship with those close to you (so that you don’t screw up these valuable relationships).


RELATED: 10 Signs You Have Major Anger Issues (And What To Do About It)

Mosab Alkhteb is a writer and online entrepreneur who has been writing online since 2015. His work is featured on Medium, TinyBuddha, and YourTango, and he is the author of multiple books about relationships and self-development