Thoughts affect how you feel, in a significant way. Research suggests that people have around 60,000 thoughts a day, most of them random, repetitive, and involving lots of meaningless wandering.
The difficulty is that it’s easy to wander into negative thoughts without 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 self-talk releases feel-good hormones, and helps you rewire 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. Question if it’s helpful, and 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 open to a positive outlook and feel better from it.
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 take note of and focus on 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.