I’ve noticed lately, I’ve been letting relatively little things overwhelm me to the point where my anger and hopelessness are completely unleashed and battling for dominance. I feel out-of-control and just want to give up.
I’ve also noticed there is an overabundance of negativity going on in my head. Self-doubt, bitterness, envy, self shame and disappointment, you name it, it’s all going on in a constant loop of defeating dialogue in my brain.
It’s normal to have days like these once in a while, but I’m having way too many. I thought now would probably be a good time to look into how to gain control over my thoughts.
After a bit of research, I came up with the following methods. I’ll try to incorporate these over the next few days, and see if they will help me quell the pessimism going on in my head.
Ask Better Questions
When caught in bad situation, stop and figure out if there is something good in the situation. Or identify what you can do differently next time to avoid this situation all together. Envision yourself giving advice to a friend in the same situation. What would you say to them?
People Really Don’t Care
Stay with me on this one. People really do not pay that much attention to what you say or do. So if you battle thoughts of what people will think or say about you, don’t. Honestly, everyone is dealing with their own issues to pick up on every little thing that you do.
Call Yourself on Your Own Bullshit
If you have a negative thought about yourself, such as “I’m so stupid, I never do anything right.”, start analyzing that sentence. Is this really true? Have you never done anything in your whole life that was right? You’ve never been complimented on a good job, never made a good decision, never scored well on a test, never wore a cute outfit that received a compliment, no one has ever said thank you for something you’ve done, etc.?
Analyzing a statement for truth, forces you to think of things that contradict that statement. Eventually you won’t be so quick to generalize things. You screwed up ONE thing, you don’t screw up EVERYTHING.
Outside Affects the Inside
Take a look at what negative things you let into your life on a daily basis and either get rid of them or contain them.
Something that really hit home for me was one article said not to start your day off with the news. One of the first things I do in the morning is skim through the news online. Never occurred to me I was already setting myself up to be in the wrong frame of mind for the rest of the day.
Is there someone in your life that is very critical of you? If it’s a so called “friend”, get rid of them. If it’s a family member, set very clear boundaries regarding any time you spend with them.
Do you have people around you that are just very negative by nature, like a coworker? Instead of joining in with their negative remarks, respond to everything they say with something positive. This will do one of two things. Either they will become aware of how negative they are and start changing, or they will become defensive and annoyed and stop talking to you. Either way, you will benefit!
I also realized I spend quite a bit of time on social media and if I’m honest, I do compare myself to others. Limiting the amount of time that I spend on these platforms will probably help.
Ever have a bad day and then list out all the things that have gone wrong in the name of either making others “understand” how awful your day has been, or to justify the pity party you are having with yourself? Stop! Switch it up. Next time you feel the urge to do that force yourself to list things that went well instead.
Get It Out
Encompassed in a negativity firestorm in the brain? Grab pen and paper and just start writing down all those horrible thoughts onto the paper. Confronting them in writing is very therapeutic. It gets it out of your head, forces you to evaluate what you wrote, and makes room for kinder thoughts to enter. Just the other day, I broke a pen doing this, but I immediately felt better afterward. I can always buy another pen.
Put all your focus and energy on observing just one thing like breathing. Focus on how deeply you can breathe in and out and nothing else.
Or bring to focus the things around you. Watch people stroll by or identify all the items on your desk or look at the walls identifying the color and cracks and cobwebs, whatever works to bring your mind back to the present.
Is it sunny out? Go out and soak up that Vitamin D. Sunshine improves mood almost instantly. Even if it’s not that sunny, take a quick walk. Exercising boosts your mood by getting you out of your head and focusing on doing something nice for your body.
Stop Being so Self Centered
Even if you feel like the whole world is against you and you hate everyone in it, stop and hold the door open for someone, return a grocery cart, pick up a piece of trash, or send some encouragement to a friend that is dealing with a bigger problem. Focusing on others and making things easier for them will get your mind off of yourself.
I’ve read quite a bit on how effective affirmations can be, but I feel silly looking in a mirror and talking to myself. Regardless, I’m going to give it a shot. The fact that telling myself nice things makes me feel awkward probably lends to the argument that I really need to start doing this.
Here are a couple of lists of affirmations to pick from if you want to try this out:
Can anyone relate? More importantly, who wants to take this journey with me and try some of these ideas out for a few days and see if you feel any better? I would love some encouragement and feedback on this!
I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and gosh darn it, people like me!
References for this blog post: