How we talk to ourselves plays a big role in our mental health and our physical health. We often learn negative messages during childhood, whether from other children, parents, family members, teachers, or even the media. If we’re not taught to believe otherwise, negative messages can stick with us through adulthood, making it harder to turn the negative thoughts into positive ones. Due to current global circumstances, the way you speak to yourself is more important than ever, so we came up with six ways you can change thoughts in your head from negative to positive.
Replace not repeat
Sometimes as we get older, we become better at recognizing the negative self-talk that we tell ourselves, and recognition is a great first step in turning our thoughts around. It won’t happen overnight, but if you notice that you are thinking negatively, whether it’s about yourself or a particular situation, manipulate that thought using positive words instead. To practice replacing the negative with the positive, try these exercises to help you turn negative thoughts around:
- Write positive letters of reinforcement to yourself
- On sticky notes, jot down positive thoughts and leave them in places that you would see throughout the day, such as your bathroom mirror or refrigerator door
- Every time you catch yourself thinking negatively, replace it with a positive thought
- Encourage others to be positive, and in turn, you might find it easier to see the bright side of things
Keep a thought diary
Invest in a diary that you can keep close by when you start to feel overwhelmed with negativity. Thought diaries are often used in CBT (Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy) to get you into the habit of paying attention to your thoughts and change them eventually. Writing in a thought diary allows you to identify your negative thinking patterns to help you better understand how your thoughts cause your emotional reactions in certain situations. Observing thought patterns in diary entries might seem like a long process, but the outcome will be worth it if you stick to it.
Ask for help
To help you make sure that your negative thought pattern is valid, ask a close friend or counselor for help. Keep in mind the following questions about each negative thought you have:
- Would someone say this thought to another person? If not, why would I talk to myself this way?
- Is this true?
- Do I benefit from this thought? If it makes me feel awful about myself, why continue thinking about it?
Confide in someone you like and trust if they think you should believe this thought about yourself. Seeing a situation through a new set of eyes can be extremely helpful.
Cope with criticism
“Your value does not decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.”
One of the hardest things we can do is accept criticism when we can’t handle it. There is strength in being able to take what someone says and see it in a positive light. It’s not always easy, but it is achievable. Learning to cope with both criticism and rejection can be a process for some. Not only will you be your worst critic at times, but you will also have to deal with others who are critical and judgmental toward you in relationships or work scenarios. It’s important to build assertiveness when responding to criticism from others. Try some of these best practices in becoming more assertive:
- Use “I” statements
- Practice saying “no”
- Use body language
- Rehearse what you want to say
Self-esteem (building your truth)
Being sure of yourself plays a significant role in the tone of your self-talk and inner thoughts about acceptance. By changing negative thoughts into positive ones, we can build self-esteem. Doing little activities such as taking a walk or meditating can help you become more aware and in-tune with yourself. Understand that everyone makes mistakes, and no one is perfect — practice focusing on the things you can change rather than the things you can’t. Once you become aware of the negative, you can slowly turn your thoughts into positive ones.
By incorporating these practices into your daily lifestyle, you can eventually start to see the way you think and speak to yourself. Start small by replacing negative thoughts with positives ones, and you can open a whole new door: the door to positive thinking
Remember that knowing your habits and how they work in your life helps you become more successful. Learn more about unlocking your success by taking the Habit Finder, or book an expert with Habit Finder today.