Hello everyone! My name is Jess and I’m honoured to be able to contribute at The Lonely Tribalist! I can usually be found at Modern Day Girl where I blog about frugal living, organisation (personal and other) and how these connect with anxiety. I write in the hope of inspiring others to embrace their anxiety, to open discussions about it, whilst enjoying all there is that life has to offer.
So I’m writing about positive thinking and how to banish those negative thoughts.
I wrote about something similar recently on my blog but felt I touched upon a very small aspect of it. I felt I had so much more to say on the subject.
So you may be thinking, “Why do I need to think positively?”
Well, there have been quite a few scientific studies which show that women are more prone to mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety, than men. The difference can be as much as 40% (The Guardian, 2013).
Although mental illness is complex and very broad, you can see how significant this is. It is also something which doesn’t get talked about as much as you or I might wish.
You may or may not also know that positive thinking works wonders for those suffering from mental illnesses! It isn’t exclusive either. Being an anxiety sufferer myself, I can wholeheartedly agree that it certainly helps.
Those small worries that you might have can suddenly become bigger through over-thinking. Imagine a rolling snowball down a slope. Before you know it, you’re in panic mode and it can be hard to get out of it, and that snowball ruins everything in its path.
We are prone to negative thoughts all the time, some more than others, and I’m going to tell you how to can curb them. I’m not even saying I’m perfect either. I’m human just like you. I have negative thoughts all day every day. It’s a constant struggle. But these ideas will help (hopefully!).
Accept that your life isn’t perfect.
A lot of the time, we strive for better things. It’s in our nature as humans. But sometimes we can put a huge amount of pressure on ourselves to be something we aren’t, or compare ourselves to others. We wish we could be someone else, look a certain way, or want to be better off financially.
By accepting some of your imperfections, you become more grounded as an individual and will relieve some of the pressure you put on yourself daily. I know this because I am the worst for it. I used to put so much pressure on myself that I would make myself ill. Having anxiety doesn’t help this either.
Think about all the amazing things you have in your life right now. A loving partner, close family, great friends, disposable income, a nice home – anything which you are proud of. When you feel negative thoughts creeping in, think about the positive things in your life right now.
This isn’t easy either. It is very hard to accept sometimes, especially if you are a perfectionist. But you will feel that weight life off your shoulders and feel freer because of it.
Keep your thoughts in the present.
Oh my god. The amount of time I used to spend thinking about the past was unreal. I was constantly worrying about my actions in the past and how they would suddenly spring out on me at every moment. I would put myself down for the stupid mistakes I made yesterday. I would hate myself for making that purchase when thought I shouldn’t have spent the money on it.
If this sounds familiar, change it. By living in the past we are not dealing with the present and certainly not looking to the future. It’s extremely hard changing the way we think but this is a big one. Don’t beat yourself up mentally about the choices you made in the past. You are who you are today because of them. If anything, be grateful that you made these decisions because you are amazing.
For example, if you feel you shouldn’t have spent money on that item you bought, sometimes you have to spend money to save money. Sometimes you have to treat yourself to something nice as a reward. If you hate yourself for messing up a meeting or saying the wrong thing, it most likely went unnoticed by others. The way you imagined it in your head was probably nothing like how it actually happened.
Acknowledge that things will get better.
It is so easy to focus on the negative things that happen in your life and much less so than focusing on the positive outcome of a situation. Again I am the worst for this.
So when you feel like you are having a bad day, remember than tomorrow is another day and another chance to start again. Whatever bad stuff has happened today can be put aside and forgotten about. Well, maybe not forgotten about but, at least parked for now.
This will free your brain of the negative thoughts that surround you in these situations. It’s a moment that you can move on and deal with the rest of the day. Honestly, there is no better feeling than this. If it helps, imagine you are picking apart that large snowball, and allows you to manage smaller ones at a time. Sorry for the mental images of the snowball but I find this helps me!
Distract yourself from negativity.
This works wonders for me! When I feel my negative thoughts creeping over me, I change my train of thought and think about something else. A lot of the time my negative thoughts happen when I’m lying in bed trying to get to sleep which is annoying as hell. I bet you can relate to this?!
So rather than worrying about the things I have been doing today, I think about tomorrow and what I’m going to do. I think about what I’m looking forward to tomorrow or the coming weeks/months. It puts you in a much better mood and train of thought ready for sleep, or ready for the day ahead.
You could also distract yourself with other physical activities when you feel negative. For example, reading a book, browsing the web or drawing/painting. Creative hobbies are great for those suffering from anxiety, but anyone struggling with negative emotions. They work as a distraction, and allow you to think about nothing else but the activity itself.
You might have heard about the wonders of adult colouring books which have taken off recently. Finding yourself a quiet spot to do nothing more than colouring is perfect for those needing a bit of focus on themselves. I would definitely recommend these as a distraction technique, but also for calming anxiety.
What you’ll find that once you have distracted yourself from such negative thoughts, is that you’ll have forgotten about what you were thinking/worrying about before! Great stuff.
As you can tell, keeping positive in a very much negative world is hard work. But these steps are simple, easy and can be done anywhere and anytime. Save these ideas somewhere that you can remind yourself at times of need. I promise you can do it!
Thanks again, Jess, for your lovely contribution. Check out more of said loveliness over at Modern Day Girl!
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