What did I do wrong?
Why didn’t it work out?
Why does this keep happening to me!?
Nothing goes the way I want it.
I am a failure.
I guess I should just give up and not try.
I am not good enough.
Words like these play in your head, over and over again...in the event that something goes awry, you are having relationship conflict, job loss, fear of change, you find that you are burdened with negative self-talk. Perhaps you even get caught up in feeling hopeless or abandoned, and the only constant is yourself, therefore, leaving only you to blame for the circumstance. Or so you believe.
These types of thoughts are automatic. They seem to appear faster than you can deflect them and they have become a reflex response to situations that bring on stress, anxiety, overworry, and depression. The only problem...they are NEGATIVE, critical, limiting, or even a crutch; an excuse for why you cannot try skateboarding, why you did not complete a task, or why a relationship failed.
Identifying it is one thing, and changing it? Another. Whether you are working on releasing this type of thinking or you are beginning to recognize the poison it is bringing to your perspective, it is time to challenge yourself to face..., well..., yourself. Let’s look at some tried and true strategies that may help you break away from the negative self-talk and may even help you relieve stress.
Pause and recenter. When you find yourself caught up in a negative thought, reframe it as if you are offering support to a friend. Talk kindly to yourself. Practice positive self-talk.
Give this downer a do-over. By associating this type of thinking with a character or a name, it takes away some of its authority in your life and you are more likely to recognize it when it tries to creep back in.
STOP it! Give yourself a signal to notify you when those negative thoughts come sliding in. Try to catch them in action.
Set a goal to pay attention to your thinking patterns. Chances are, if you are finding yourself in a place where you are using negative self-talk, this has become a habit. Challenge yourself by challenging the habit. Use positive affirmations and set a goal to refocus your attention.
Give yourself grace. Remember, you are human. You do not expect your friends to be perfect, they do not expect you to be perfect. Do not expect yourself to be perfect. Again. Talk kindly to yourself.
Change your perspective by showing gratitude. Sometimes looking at your situation from a different angle offers an opportunity to reset and rewind. When bad things happen, change your thought process. Find positive approaches to the situation and say them out loud. Express gratitude for one thing learned, one thing released, one thing changed. And move past it.
As you work through this, you may not see a difference overnight. Sometimes just writing things down, including your thoughts as they come, is helpful. This practice also allows you to take a deeper look at your own thinking behaviors. You may find patterns as you write and reread.
If you are looking for a little more support in this area, we have created a pdf that you can use to guide you. Print it out, change it, use it to suit your needs...
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