You can use your mind to build yourself up or tear yourself down.
What we focus on and how we think about situations significantly impact our quality of life. Much like our physical health, the more we exercise our mind, the better our mental health will be.
Let me paint you a picture of what I’m trying to say.
If you are hyper-focused on everything you’ve ever done wrong, you aren’t leaving yourself room to even acknowledge the many things you’ve done right. The more you practice this flaw-centered thought pattern, the more your identity becomes rooted in a negative perception of yourself. This kind of thinking is “good” soil for hopelessness, pessimism, low self-confidence, and even mental illnesses like anxiety and depression.
On the contrary, when you make it a habit to celebrate your wins and milestones, embrace your strengths, and give yourself the grace to be imperfect, you’re practicing a more love-centered thought pattern. You’ll find that your identity is rooted in a deeper understanding and appreciation of how you are beautifully and wonderfully made just as you are, right where you are.
You are not your biggest flaw. You are not your worst failure. You are not your sins.
But getting out of a negative mindset isn’t easy. So what are some simple ways we can navigate negative thinking?
Curate a list of “go-to” positive affirmations
The only requirement is that this list needs to be committed to memory or easily accessible. Create a note or voice memo on your phone dedicated to positive affirmations. You can use whatever affirmations serve you, but they must resonate with you emotionally to have an impact.
- I am enough.
- I am destined for greatness.
- My business will prosper.
- My family is in good health.
- I am not my worst mistake.
- My flaws do not define me.
Use “BUT” statements to counter negative thoughts
Accept the disruptive thoughts as they come, BUT counter them with an acknowledgement of why you feel that way and a productive thought. For example, your negative thought might say, “I never get what I want.” You can counteract that thought by addressing where that feeling is coming from and repositioning it. Add, “I’m hyper-focused on not getting this promotion because it’s something I wanted. But I won’t always get what I want because God gives me what I NEED.”
Give yourself the advice you would give to your friend
For most of us, it’s natural to support and celebrate our friends, but we hesitate to support and celebrate ourselves. The next time you catch yourself fixated on a mistake you made or a plan that fell through, pause and think about what you would say to a friend; and then display those same words of grace and compassion to yourself.
Come back to the present
Get out of your head and return to what’s happening right now – what you’re doing, who you’re spending time with, and where you are. Take note of your surroundings by using your five senses – what do you see, smell, hear, feel, and taste? Close your eyes if it helps you feel more connected to the present.
State the opposing thought out loud
It’s a proven fact that you can’t listen and talk at the same time. Whenever you find yourself thinking destructive thoughts, speak the opposing statement out loud to drown it out. For example, if you think, “It’s too late for me to change,” then you will say out loud, “I still have time to change!” Repeat it to yourself until the destructive thought is silenced.
Changing and nourishing our thoughts is a journey that can and will look different for all of us. So if these tips don’t immediately work for you, that’s okay!
A positive mindset comes by way of commitment to trying to love ourselves as best we can. It’s a journey. So, the most important thing is not that you have the perfect thought pattern, but that you never give up on yourself.
If you’ve had success with different strategies to combat negative thoughts, share them in the comments!