Life is inherently filled with obstacles that are outside our control: the circumstances we are born into, events that are unforeseen, emergencies we are unprepared for, etc. But there are some things we have control over and among them are our thoughts and how we care for ourselves. Life has enough obstacles, we do not need to make things more difficult for ourselves and inflict more pain than life inherently brings. One thing you can do for yourself that does not cost one cent and pays huge dividends is to give yourself a break. Negative thoughts and feelings do untold damage, visible and invisible, so it’s important to keep them to a minimum. That’s much easier said than done, but here are several ways to help halt negative thoughts and self-talk:
Some big reasons people beat themselves up and feel badly about themselves are because they are overwhelmed, they have recently failed or they are paralyzed by fear. It’s important in these moments to pause and take a deep breath. It will help slow your increasing heart rate by calming you down and giving you some clarity. If you start thinking negative thoughts, and you are feeling overwhelmed and upset pause and breathe.
When you know you’re starting to spiral and succumb to your negative thoughts, acknowledge them. You’re not going to stop negative thoughts by ignoring them. You have to acknowledge them before you can confront them. It’s not easy to admit you have doubts, that you are afraid or have reasons to be concerned, but you will never put them to rest in a meaningful way until you acknowledge them.
Consider The Cause
What are the roots of these thoughts? Are you afraid? Are you experiencing self-doubt? Have you had a big failure recently that has bruised your self-confidence? Are you depressed? Why are these thoughts creeping in and why are they stopping you? Take some time to consider where these thoughts come from and confront them. If you’re afraid, assuage your fears. Chances are, they are only in your head. If you’re experiencing self-doubt, tell yourself everyone fails and the only way to prove to yourself that you can do this is to start working. Consider the roots of these thoughts so you can address them and work toward silencing them.
Stop Expecting Perfection
Don’t expect perfection when you are just beginning. If you are starting over after a major failure, or you are suffering from self-doubt, try telling yourself it’s OK to fail. Don’t expect perfection when no one is perfect. Flaws and failure are part of life, and once you embrace them, and move forward in spite of them, you will become happier and more self-confident. If you make mistakes it’s OK, get back in the saddle and keep going.
Surround Yourself With Positivity
Surround yourself with things that give you energy and motivate you: put on a playlist that gets you moving and in a good mood, play a podcast or a YouTube video of a coach, writer or speaker that motivates and validates you, or a movie that inspires you, or call a friend or family member that always knows what to say when you’re having a bad moment, exercise, etc. When you are feeling down, raise yourself up. Know what helps improve your mood and your mindset so you can change it. Your thoughts are not out of your control, know what steps you need to take to change them when they are not serving you.
Build A Routine
If you create a routine, then your day takes less thought, therefore less time and energy. The best way to get past negative thoughts is to work through them, and it is easier to work through them if your day is planned and you do not have to think about how to start your day. If you wake up at the same time every day, and make the same breakfast and workout at the same time, and walk out the door and arrive at your office at the same time you are not overthinking anything and not getting stuck in your own head. If you treat things like getting to work at a certain time, working out and meals like appointments you will naturally rise the occasion of every day. Even if you are suffering from self-doubt, or fear, having a routine helps your press on in spite of them, so build a routine that will help you get your day started and put negative thoughts to the side.
Make A Conscious Choice To Silence Those Thoughts
At first, it will be difficult. The negative voices and thoughts will want to creep in the way they always have, and it will be tempting to let them have their say, but choose to confront them, and create a counter-narrative that’s on hand in your head. If you’re filled with doubt and feeling like you cannot do something, remember to breathe, to surround yourself with positivity and to remind yourself of the progress you’ve made every day.