It hurts, doesn’t it? When you can’t be nice to yourself? When you’re trying so hard, but all you can think about is how badly you’re doing. When the world out there is full of negative noise, and you find your mind is too.
Negative thoughts about yourself suck, I know. But I’m here to tell you, you don’t have to sit by and let them come.
The yogis of old knew a thing or two about the brain. They called the tendency of the human mind to wander and jump around the ‘Monkey Mind’.
This is so true.
If you’ve ever tried to meditate and found it impossible to focus, your monkey mind is to blame. I believe that the monkey mind is also responsible for a lot of the negative self-talk that we all experience every day.
Think about it: What do monkeys do when they feel stressed, threatened, or even just bored? They throw poop at each other. What does your mind do when threatened or bored?
Yeah, maybe it throws poop at you. In the form of self-put-downs and negative thinking.
You can stop it! You don’t have to live with the negativity inside your head. To start training this monkey mind of ours we need to look at and identify some of the poop it’s throwing.
What you’re thinking (negative self-talk):
Below are 7 common thoughts you have about why you suck, and some great ways to calm that monkey mind into stepping away from the poop.
“I’ll never be able to do that… and even if I do, it’ll just fail anyway.”
Underestimating coping ability
“If this ends badly, I’ll never recover.”
” My presentation at work didn’t go so well. I’ll probably get fired.”
“If I can’t get this exactly right, there’s no point in even trying.”
“I’m so ugly and fat. I should eat better.”
Believing things will be better when…
“I’ll be so happy when I move to a new town. I’ll make better friends there.”
Believing you can’t change.
“I’ve tried this goal before, but always failed. Why bother?”
How to not suck:
Psychologists call all these thought patterns “negative self-talk” and there are ways to stop it, calm the monkey-mind, and get on track to a happier, healthier, and more motivated you.
The below ideas are all based off of one core concept: the idea that any repeated thoughts we have become strong patterns in the brain. We want to stop following the old patterns, or paths, and create new ones… better ones. This is a gentle process that takes time – it’s like wearing a path through the jungle (yes, monkeys live in the jungle… there’s a connection!): you have to walk it many times to make it really ‘there’. At first it’s going to be hard, full of weeds and rocks, but over time you’ll tread the new path smooth and clear, and eventually you’ll follow it automatically.
How great is that? Automatic POSITIVE self-thought!
3 ways to create positive paths:
- Consciously replace bad thoughts with good ones. Every time you notice yourself thinking something bad about yourself or your life, stop. Take a breath. Replace that thought with something positive. If you really struggle and can’t think of any on your own, imagine what your best friend or parent would tell you (or call them and ask!). They probably have a very clear view of what makes you awesome.
- Get out of your head and do something that makes you feel great. The key to weakening those old paths is to stop walking them. When you find yourself dwelling on negative things, cut the pattern off and do something positive and affirming, and that makes you feel good about yourself. It could be a walk, dancing, chatting to a friend, or anything that reminds you that you’re gorgeous inside and out.
- A powerful and regularly used counselling technique is journalling. You can use it by yourself to get things out of your head and focus on them in a different way. It could be an actual pen and paper journal, a blog, or the notepad app on your phone – anything that works.
You can journal about any negative self thoughts that you’re having (or save them up and deal with them at the end of the day), and then write what you can see that is positive in each situation. You then use these positives in idea 1 above, and you’ve got a powerful loop going to get your brain thinking positive!
You can do this. You ARE awesome. And you should know that.
However, it important to think hard about whether you truly believe these negative things you say to yourself. For example, if you think to yourself “Ugh, I’m so fat. I won’t be worth anything until I lose weight” and it makes you feel bad, but deep down within yourself you know it’s just negative self-talk, then the above strategies are more likely to work for you.
If, on the other hand, you really do believe you are worthless until you lose weight, this is a bigger issue and you may want to think about talking to a professional because it’s a hard road to walk alone (check out my ‘work with me’ page, if you feel like this is something you’d benefit from).
Also, if you’d like a bit of an extra body-image boost, check out my free ebook: ‘Fall in Love with Yourself: 15 things you can do today to love you more’.