For whatever reason, people are sometimes inclined to beat themselves up. Whether it's for the stupid thing you said to your crush, or the mistake you made at work, no matter what, there is still always a way to stop negative thinking. You just have to be positive.
Personally, negative self-talk is a truly a weird habit that I have. Some of the things I say to myself, I would never say to a friend. But the brain is a crazy organ and can think irrational things if I let it take control. The negative things you tell yourself may seem somewhat logical at first, but once you start speaking those words out loud, you realize how silly you sound in reality. I had a problem with negative self-talk without even realizing it; I always thought that I was pretty positive about myself, but I realized that self-doubt would kick in and I would start questioning my confidence and intelligence.
When the pessimistic thoughts would start flowing, it felt like a huge struggle to be positive — like I had to push myself to think more positively, or I was going to drown. After some time, it has gotten better, though, and it can get better for you, too. With a few steps and tricks, you can conquer your negative thoughts by talking more positively to yourself. Pretend you are the best friend you always wanted and treat yourself exactly how you would treat them. It sounds weird, but you need to be best friends with yourself before you can be best friends with anyone else.
1. Become Aware Of The Negative Talk
To start, you have to be more aware of the thoughts that you keep having. When you are more conscious of your negative thinking, you start to realize just how often those thoughts can pop up. It might take some time to analyze this, but once you understand what triggers your pessimistic thoughts and why, it will be much easier to fix the problem. Listening to yourself is the first step before saying anything at all.
2. Replace Negative Thoughts With Positive Affirmations
Instead of harping on a bad thought, replace it with a positive affirmation. Positive affirmations are positive statements that are said with confidence and a perceived truth. By saying them, we are addressing something negative in our lives in a healthy way by putting a positive spin on it. You have to fully believe the words that are coming out of your mouth and use phrases that you know will steer you to a better outlook. Don't just say, "I am a good person," but say things like: "I am caring and thoughtful and I love myself." When you get more specific, it will help you see the picture much more clearly.
3. Get Rid Of Outside Influences
It's hard to get rid of the negative voices inside your head when you are surrounded by people who are pessimistic. Once you start to hear those phrases all the time, it's hard to not agree with them. Sometimes you don't even notice the negative until someone brings it up and your positive outlook on things start to crumble down. While there are a lot of ways for you to deal with negative people, it might be best for you to simply get rid of them. People who are verbally negative all the time are most likely internally negative, too. People like this can be toxic and you don't need that in your life when you are trying to better yourself.
4. Focus On The Present
When you focus on the here and now, you will have a better chance of not being negative about yourself because you are not thinking about past mistakes. By constantly thinking about these, you are allowing yourself to beat yourself up. When I start to think about my past mistakes, I try to always use this saying to make myself stop, "By thinking of this now, is this going to change the past?" Of course, the answer is no. The mind can become really irrational when you let it run totally wild. Sometimes we need to take a step back and come back to Earth to understand exactly what we are thinking and why. Let the past be in the past; embrace your mistakes and look forward to your future instead.
5. Use Possible Thinking
When you are constantly hearing negative thoughts, it might be hard for you to believe all the positive self-talk that you are trying to tell yourself. Instead, use possible thinking. According to The Huffington Post, psychologist Tamar E. Chansky, PhD and author of Freeing Yourself From Anxiety said, "We feel a lot of pressure to turn it all around and make it positive," Chansky says, "But research has found that when you're down and out and force yourself to say positive things to yourself, you end up feeling worse." Instead, be more realistic with yourself. Try having more neutral thoughts about the situation and bringing more facts to the table. If you know you have been negative at work lately, acknowledge it, be honest with yourself about the changes you need to make, and do it. Turning that negative thought into a neutral stance of understanding will make you aware of the changes you need to make, which will make you feel better because you know that you are trying.
6. Treat Yourself Like You Would A Friend
You probably have heard this before, but I am saying it again: Sometimes we are our own worst enemies. It's really sad how destructive we can be to ourselves when we would never dare say half those thoughts out loud, or to our own friends. Every time you start feeling like you are talking down to yourself, try to think about if you would say those things to your friend. If the answer is no, then you need to stop what you are thinking and change it to something more positive. According to The Huffington Post, Kristin Neff has conducted research for the past decade finding that people who are self-compassionate are less likely to be, "depressed, anxious, insecure and stressed, and are much more likely to be happy, resilient, optimistic and motivated to change themselves and their lives for the better."
Don't let the brain trick you. Whether you believe it or not, you have control over your thinking and if you want, you can start to feel more powerful about yourself sooner than you would imagine. Positive thinking equals confidence, and you deserve all of that.
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