As it was Mental Health Awareness Day this week I wanted to talk about ways we can manage our negative self-talk. I think we can all be guilty of letting ourselves run away with our thoughts at times, letting the negative thinking circulate over and over. A lot of us have got so used to this language we can be totally unaware that we are even doing it. The problem is when we start to believe it, this is where the damage happens. It can be a catalyst in creating anxiety, depression, panic attacks and can hold us back in many ways.
By practising a few of the steps below we can start reversing the effects of years of negative self-talk and work towards leading a happier and mentally healthier life.
1. Gain Awareness of your Thinking Patterns.
This will take some practise, but noticing how often you have negative thoughts is a great place to to start. Awareness is the first point of change.
2. Try to Question your Thinking.
We often just say things like ‘I can’t’ ‘I’m not good enough’ we are constantly making assumptions about ourselves. Question this thinking, for example where is the evidence that this is true? Try and find where this assumption has come from. Often it’s a story we have created for ourselves with little or no evidence.
3. Challenge your Thinking.
When you have a negative thought, think three positive ones. It’s training your brain to flip the script.
4. Self Acceptance.
This is a hard one, but by learning to accept ourselves for who we are, what we do, what we look like, is a freeing way to be. To recognise our self worth through our strengths and our weaknesses. If we recognise that we are all imperfect in some parts and accept that imperfection does not define us, or make us incapable. Then we are setting ourselves up to lead a much happier and fulfilling life.
5. Have a Digital Detox.
I know you have heard this one before, but its incredible how many of us have our day affected by simply scrolling on social media and comparing our lives to others. Firstly, instagram is an curated and glossy version of someone’s life and secondly, how much better is actual physical social interaction?! Reducing the time we are on our electronics can help reduce stress, make us feel calmer and more focused.
This might sound a little woo woo for some people, but writing down your thoughts and feelings can be a great way to gain perspective. It can be a way of stress management if it is done consistently and can also help when the focus is on gratitude. Seeing your thoughts on paper can help compartmentalise and sometimes resolve certain issues.
7. Talk to Someone.
Please don’t suffer in silence, you are not alone, no matter how lonely it can feel when you are in your thoughts. Talk to friends and family if you can and know that there are many organisations our there willing to lend an ear any time.
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