Remember that time you had a really negative thought about yourself, a situation or another person, and before you know it, it spiraled out of control and your mind is racing with the worst case scenario and laundry-list of things you should have said or done instead?
Yeah, I've been there too, and I've learned that there are so many reasons why we have negative thoughts and project this into the world. It could be due to our environment, stress, work, relationships, a project that's due, an upcoming launch, family events, or simply that we just don't know any better.
It's true, stress is all around us. Thinking one negative thought attracts more negativity, ultimately leaving you in a place of feeling stuck, unhappy and maybe even a bit depressed. In my experience, when external situations are challenging and demanding, the way we think about and talk to ourselves is impacted significantly.
But how is it that some people experience all of these same stressors, and come out the other side with a more positive outlook?
It's because they're changing their perspective and can see the problem from different angles and lenses.
The truth is, your mind is a very powerful place, and you have the ability to shift the thoughts you have and the words you say to yourself.
I get this question often: "but Simona, how do you do that?".
Well, here are my four tips for re-framing negative self-talk and the 'how' behind each one:
Awareness is so key in re-framing negative self-talk, because we don't even realize that we're lacking it.
I'll use this example because it's the easiest for me. Think of a time where you looked at yourself in the mirror and thought: 'I hate my legs' or 'I hate my hair' or even 'I hate the way this looks on me'. It may sound "vain" to some, to judge ourselves based on the way we look, but this is deep-rooted, real-time fear and insecurities my friends.
So while you're thinking this thought and remembering a time you may have experienced this, think to yourself, were you even aware that you were doing it? Or were you so used to saying those specific things to yourself, that it just became second nature and "a thing that you say"?
I bet you didn't even realize you were doing it, and that brings me to my second point.
2. Shift your thoughts and perspective
Once a sense of awareness has been established, you can then start to shift the way you think, feel and express yourself around the situation.
Using the same example from before, there are so many ways you can shift this conversation for yourself. One of the easiest ways is to replace the negative with a positive. So in this case, the positive would be "I love the way I look", "my hair looks really nice like this" or "I like the way this shirt fits".
It may seem small, but it's a significant part in starting to re-frame the way we talk to ourselves. By replacing a negative with a positive, you're changing the way your brain reacts, and actually changing the way it responds.
3. Care about yourself
I sincerely can't stress this one enough. Put yourself first and take the time to care about yourself. What does your body want this week? Does it want to move? Does it want a delicious snack, does it want to relax?
Think about how you can be the most present for you - whether it's for an hour, a day, a week.
When you care about yourself and make the time for what makes you happy, you end up projecting that happiness and love to all those you cross paths with. This then helps you show even more love to yourself, and think more positively about who and how you are.
4. Empower yourself
This one may be harder, which is why I've left it for last. I've also left this tip for last because you really need to experience points 1, 2 and 3 before you can fully understand #4.
Be open to the magic and the possibilities that are available for you, and trust yourself in the process. Actively take action on the things you said you're going to do, and the changes you want to make in your life. Say kind things to yourself, about others and to others. Be mindful of the energy you're projecting into the world. Take ownership of yourself and actions.
Whether it's the way you speak to yourself, or shifting the judgment you might pass onto others, at the core of it all, it begins and ends with you. The goal isn't to do all of these things and expect that the negative self-talk will change overnight. Instead, it's about being mindful in every moment and flexing that awareness muscle.
Which of these four tips resonate the most with you?
Make today count,