Every now and then, we question what the heck it is we’re trying to accomplish or to prove. We wonder how we got as far as we did when it seems every turn we take, every choice made is the wrong one.
It’s a natural occurrence, and sometimes it’s a necessary step in evaluating our life paths. Negativity isn’t wrong. It can be a helpful tool for processing and gaining awareness. But brooding and dwelling on the past - on the shoulda, coulda, woulda - is what we want to avoid when it comes to protecting our mental health.
All of your feelings are valid and deserve your attention. But after you’ve stewed, it’s time to start learning. It’s time to forgive yourself and look at your situation from all angles. What small victories did you win? What did you gain out of your loss, your misstep, your misjudgement? How can you regroup and grow from here?
Your self-talk is the conversation between you and you. It happens in your head almost every minute of every day. It can be positive or negative. But the only one who can hear what you’re saying is you. Is what you're saying worthy enough to say to a loved one?
Positive Self-Talk and Your Health
The growing trend toward practicing positivity stems from the collective experience of the benefits of enhanced well-being. There are so many individuals who can testify that changing to a positive mindset can raise your vibration, leading to lower stress, improved function of the immune system, and greater satisfaction in life.
In an article published by the National Institutes of Health, experts found that emotionally well people have fewer negative thoughts than positive. They can also hold onto positive emotions for longer periods of time. Their research shows that a link between positive mindset and improved health exists. Such improvements included “lower blood pressure, reduced risk for heart disease, healthier weight, better blood sugar levels, and longer life. including lower levels of the stress hormone.”
Although the reason behind this link remains unclear, researchers believe it possible that people with positive self-talk have the mental flexibility to solve problems and cope more efficiently with challenges. This helps reduce many ugly side effects of anxiety and stress.
How to Overcome Negative Thinking
ACKNOWLEDGE & LABEL THE NEGATIVITY
Admitting to yourself that there’s an issue is the first step to healing your mind. This can take swallowing your pride and ego, but opening yourself to change is the key to a treasure chest of growth. You’ve now moved into awareness that there is negativity present in your mind and therefore creeping into your body. Now let’s give it a name. Naming something makes it tangible and malleable.
ACKNOWLEDGE THE LIMITS YOUR THOUGHT IMPOSES
When you have decided to what extreme your thought has taken you, the most important question to ask yourself is, “Am I leaving out any important information?” Did you jump to conclusions and the worst possible outcome, or is there a more likely scenario that will unfold? Walking into a situation open minded allows more opportunities for growth, problem solving skills, and new solutions. When you’re not giving energy to what might go wrong or what didn’t go right, you’re freeing up space and time for improvement and prosperity.
Another illuminating question to ask is, “Am I being fair and reasonable?” To think that your boss called you in early to speak to you because she hated your most recent work and is going to fire you, is withholding credit to your education, experience, and hard work.
Instead, free your mind to be able to listen to and accept constructive feedback. And who knows? Maybe you’re on your way to receive a massive compliment! Be ready to receive whatever is coming your way with gratitude, and watch your life fill with joy right before your eyes.
REPLACE THESE THOUGHTS WITH POSITIVE THOUGHTS
Another name for this step is the practice of writing down daily affirmations. When doubt or despair creep into your mind, the most cleansing way to banish them is by giving life and body to confidence and optimism.
You can create a T-chart with your nagging thoughts on one side and the affirmations you want to manifest in your life on the other. Or you can write down your no-no thoughts on a piece of paper, crumple it up, and symbolically throw them away (into the recycling bin, of course). Then, all you have left to write down during your morning ritual is your self-loving truths. Don’t forget to speak them outloud for the universe to hear.
I am intelligent
I learn and grow from my mistakes
I am worthy of healthy relationships
I treat others with the same kindness I deserve
I am a dedicated and helpful employee
I approach every day with purpose
I am a loving mother and sister
I speak to myself with love and respect
It’s way too easy to wake up in the morning on the wrong side of the bed, curse the sun for rising, and start your day in a lump of grump.
It’s a common practice for most to come home at the end of the day and complain about that one coworker ad nauseum.
These feelings you may have are valid and you should let yourself acknowledge and feel them. But once that is out of the way, find the small things that make you smile and decide why they bring you joy. Focus on the things that went well and why they matter.
When you make the conscious choice to see the silver lining, you sharpen the skill to find the good everywhere you look throughout the day. They don’t have to be big, earth-shattering positives. It could be something as simple as being grateful for a cloud-free day meaning you get to see the sun all day long and have a clear view of the stars at night.
Instead of focusing on spending all day at the office, you can express gratitude for the relationships your job led you to. Instead of grumbling about your commute, you can give thanks for the time to listen to that audiobook you haven’t gotten around to yet.
There is positivity around every corner. When you can see positivity around you, it’s easier to see positivity within you. It’s easier to think positively about yourself and your ability to respond to the scenarios in which you find yourself.
Surround Yourself With Positivity
Who you spend your time with will color your outlook on almost everything. Surround yourself with those who not only lift you up, but lift up others and themselves as well.
Positive quotes and affirmations posted on your walls, written on your notebook, hanging from your keychain, saved as your computer homescreen. These are all subliminal messages soaking into your soul throughout your day and serve as subtle reminders of what you deserve.
Practice the habits you want to manifest into your life as second nature. The more you soothe your mind and your heart with kind words, the better you’ll become at speaking to yourself with love.
Julie is a self-made writer on a forever journey of fitness and health. As a high school music teacher, she has seen and experienced the challenges of maintaining good health while simultaneously balancing a career and healthy relationships.
Julie has always lived a healthy and active lifestyle. She loves the outdoors, hiking, and camping. Over the years she has continued to learn smarter and better ways to take care of her body while continuing to do the things that make her smile. Naturally, all of her teacher friends wanted to know how she did it - what was her secret?
Julie found herself explaining over and over everything she'd learned in her research, and sharing her experiences through trial and error. Her friends would take her advice, try some new things, and then come back to ask how to take it to the next level.
"You should charge for this kind of information!" Became a constant phrase, and so began her career of writing to share her knowledge with the world through health and wellness companies looking to spread healing and healthy habits within their communities. Now Julie gets to combine two of the things she enjoys most - writing and wellness - and use them to affect change in a real way.
When not making music with her kiddos, or writing wellness tips for a higher quality of life, you can find her reading, hiking, drumming, and fitnessing