Thoughts can affect how you feel, in a significant way. Research suggests we have approximately 50,000 thoughts a day, and most of them are random, repetitive, and involve plenty of meaningless wandering.
It’s easy to wander into negative and self-critical thoughts without even realising, only to then wonder why we feel anxious or sad. This is your instinctive problem-solver at work, directing you to deal with perceived threats and negative ‘stuff’ – but it doesn’t lift your mood!
Positive affirmations and self-talk release ‘feel-good’ hormones, and help you ‘re-wire’ your brain to focus on your strengths and the positives in your life. It takes practice, but it really works.
A good place to start is to pay attention to how you ‘talk to or think about yourself’, and notice how this makes you feel. Is it helpful, does it make you feel good? You may soon realise how biased you are to your inner critic, despite what your friends and family think. When you start to make small shifts in the way you ‘talk to and think about yourself’, you can become more open to a life of hope and opportunity.
Try these positive self-talk exercises:
1. Start the day by repeating a positive affirmation 10 times. There are some good examples here.
2. Write a ‘gratitude list’ as a way to track and remind yourself of the good and positive things in your life.
3. Write down any negative self-talk that comes up and counter it with positive alternatives where possible.