Challenging Our Thoughts

Last month I added a short list of positive affirmations to try when you catch yourself thinking critically about yourself. I’d like to take a moment to explain why these may feel ridiculous at first, however, they can have an impact on our mental health.

We’ve all done it, myself included. I’ve caught myself ruminating over moments in my life where I did or said something embarrassing. I’ve tripped over in front of my crush, I’ve had people laugh at the incorrect way I pronounced a word and many other similar moments. Often times, my mind will reflect back on these moments and I’ll begin to feel the emotions again. Embarrassment, ridicule, shame and I feel my heartbeat increasing and my cheeks getting hotter.

With those memories come the thoughts, “I’ll never be ______ enough” or “I’m an idiot”

Negative thoughts like these, if left unchallenged, can eventually have an impact on our mindset. I’ve caught myself thinking that I’d be better off by not trying something, than trying and failing. And it wasn’t until I began to notice all the negative talk that I was telling myself that I realised that I needed to make a change.

So I began to challenge those negative thoughts by identifying and labelling them. I started a Positive Journal where I would keep a separate notebook and only write down the positive things that happened to me. Over time, this has evolved into a space at the end of my day’s journal where I write something positive. Similar to a positive affirmation, but personal to me. Somewhere I can flick back to once the old negative talk starts up again.

If you’re unable to come up with affirmations, and you’re feeling brave, ask a close friend or close family member what they like about you. Do first explain to them that you are looking for affirmations and would like serious answers.

Try thinking of one positive moment or thought during your reflective time. It doesn’t have to be every day, maybe link the reflecting to a task or something you do often.