Mental Health · self-help · self-love · Uncategorized

8 Ways to Deal With Negative Thoughts

You wake up in the morning but you are rushing because you snoozed for the last hour. The night before, you planned on getting up early, drinking some cucumber and lemon water, stretching, walking the dog, and having time to get ready for yoga. That snooze button just was too easy and the bed was too comfortable to get out of. Yoga is in 20 minutes so you rush out of bed, eat a piece of toast, don’t even brush your hair or teeth, and basically throw clothes on and rush out the door. Already, you are anxious because you have 10 minutes to get to class before it starts. You are upset because you planned to have a good morning and to start it off right but that dang snooze button got the best of you! On the drive, you are talking so negatively about yourself and upset that you didn’t just get up. You get to class with 1 minute to spare and to your luck, the only spot left is in the very front and center of the class. GREAT just to my luck this would happen! The negative thoughts start creeping in… “This is going to suck,” “What if I get sick and can’t lay down,” What if I can’t keep up with the entire class since I haven’t been in a month,” ” I am front and center so I have to keep up or else I will look weak,” “I work here so I have to be a good yoga role model to the other students and to the ones online,” “I am scared I won’t do well,” “I am so mad about myself for not getting up earlier to get in a different spot.” The mind is going wild with so much negative thinking before the class has even started.

Instead of continuing this negative thinking and letting this mindset completely ruin the next 75 minutes of this hot yoga class, you make a huge shift in your thoughts! You start to look in the mirror and tell yourself, “I got this,” “I am strong,” “I don’t have to be perfect,” “I am thankful I made it to the mat,” “I showed up and didn’t fully bail on class,” “I just have to breathe and take it a step at a time,” and just like that…..you feel strong, brave, happy, excited, and you take on the entire 75 minute class like a rock star! What a concept right? If we switch our negative thoughts and start speaking positive affirmations then it can completely transform how you feel about a situation.

Does this happen to you? Do you have moments before going into a situation and you completely already talk yourself out of it before you even had a chance to attempt? This happens to me A LOT! I don’t know if it stems from my anxiety, depression, or lack of self-confidence and trust in good things to actually happen. Along the way, there have probably been situations in your life where you have been let down. Instead of letting yourself down without fully knowing the situation yet, you tell yourself that it already isn’t going to work, so no big deal. This can be a defense mechanism and a reaction to replaying past events and worrying about the future. Unfortunately, these negative thoughts really take a toll and can hold you back from enjoying life experiences, distract you from focusing on what’s really important, make you feel anxious and depressed, and drain your energy. 

1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavior therapy or CBT is a psychological treatment that can be effective for a range of problems including depression, anxiety disorders, alcohol, and drug use problems, marital problems, eating disorders, and severe mental illness. CBT helps you manage stress and anxiety by learning relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, coping self-talk, identifying situations that are often avoided and gradually approaching feared situations. This type of therapy is focused on present problems and is works with problem-orientated situations.  A great resource to find a therapist in your area that does CBT is searching on Psychology Today online.

Cognitive Therapy Exercise:

(My Psychology teacher gave us this example of what a Cognitive Therapy Exercise looks like so feel free to answer these questions for your own personal reflection)

  • I often worry that I _____
  • What’s the worst thing that could possibly happen? What do you fear most of all?
  • When you think the worst thing that could happen, do you really think that it’s likely to happen? If so, How could you learn to cope with it?
  • I accept myself even though I ____ (do not use the word “am”)

2. Recognizing where your thought distortions are coming from

When you can recognize the core of where these negative thoughts stem from then it can be very beneficial. We tend to tell ourselves these stories of things that are really not true and these inaccurate thoughts can reinforce negative thinking. When we can really recognize them then we can challenge them.

  • Personalizing: Assuming you are to blame for anything that goes wrong. When someone doesn’t say hello to you in the morning at work and you feel that it is your fault and you must have done something to upset him/her. When really, it is more likely that person is having a hard morning and it has nothing to do personally against you.
  • Black and white thinking: Seeing things as one way or another with no in between.
  • Filter thinking: Choosing to see only the negative of a situation
  • Catastrophizing: Assuming the worst possible outcome is going to happen.

References: Psychology Today

3. Questioning your thoughts

We tend to make up stories in our heads and these stories become what we think is true. When we can step back and look at a different perspective then we can try to see the full picture and defuse the negative thoughts. If a good friend was telling you a story how would you react to what they were telling you? Try to put yourself in someone’s shoes and see if that can help.

Ask yourself:

  • Is this thought true?
  • Is this thought important?
  • Is this thought helpful?

4. Separate from negative thoughts

It is important to try and take breaks from negative thoughts and put in positive ones instead. I know this can be difficult and honestly it really takes practice, patience, self-awareness, and time. Take control of your thoughts and allow yourself a few minutes with the thought but then take a break and start focusing on something positive. When we spend too much time on these negative thoughts then they can completely take over and consume us, to the point we start to believe they are actually true.

5. Let go of the judgment!

I know it can be so easy to judge ourselves and put ourselves down without even realizing it. I feel like it is even harder now a days because of social media and social comparison. This happens to me especially while scrolling through my Instagram feed! I see how people are handling their Instagram for blogs and think wow mine sucks, it could be so much better! These people get to travel the world, ugh, I will never get to do that! I will never be that skinny! I feel so fat! I won’t ever get that promotion! I feel like all of us do this without even realizing sometimes and this can have a huge impact on your negative thought patterns. When you start to have these thoughts recognize your reaction to them, observe it, and then let it go. Another way, is when you are noticing you are judging yourself or someone else in a negative light then start to look for a positive quality as well.

6. Gratitude!

Practicing gratitude is by far one of the biggest helps when it comes to negative self-talk. I highly recommend meditation, writing in a journal, and yoga. These three things have helped me so much because you get time with yourself to really take a step back and be with your thoughts. You actually feel your breath and your heart beat. I always feel so grateful to even be alive and to be able to breathe. It’s those little things that can really put everything in perspective and help you see the bigger picture.

7. Starting the day with affirmations

I work at a yoga studio and one of the students I talk to could feel that I was very stressed. I was very stressed, overwhelmed, and exhausted. The next day, she gave me a note card with these journal prompts and affirmations and told me to give it a try. At first, I was like how will I have time to do this first thing in the AM? As we heard above I LOVE to snooze my alarm and usually am running late. What if I got up a little earlier and spent 5 min or less answering these questions? Well, I did and let me tell you it really did set the tone for the day and I encourage you to give them a try!

8. Focus on what your strengths are

I know it can be difficult to focus on what you are good at and especially because you don’t want to sound conceded. But let me tell you, it is okay to talk good about yourself and be confident! It is human nature to dwell on the negative and overlook the positive sometimes, but the more you practice focusing on your strengths and how to move forward then the easier it will be to feel positive about yourself. Sometimes, we look into the past and can be upset of how we handled situations, who we surrounded ourselves with, and any thing that has happened that has made us feel less then. I know it is easier said then done but you have to forgive yourself and know that you made that decision for a reason. Every single life decision happens for us and leads us on the right path. When we can be more self-aware and think, “I put myself in that situation because I didn’t have the healthy coping skills as a teen and that is the way I got by.” Sometimes, we didn’t know better or maybe didn’t even have a choice. That is okay! Love every single inch of you and your heart.

I want you to know that I am posting this because I have a really hard time with negative thought patterns. I don’t even realize how much I am negative but I am a lot. The other day, I was driving to the dog park with my Husband and I said, “I really have to go to the bathroom.” He said, “There is a bathroom there we will be there soon.” and then I said “No, they are probably closed because of COVID.” See what I did? I didn’t even wait until we got there to actually see and instead already made up my mind that they were closed! Did I do this to protect myself in case there really wasn’t and I peed my pants? Probably! There are a lot of situations like that where I always shut things down right away without giving it a chance. I know that this will take effort and practice and honestly will probably be a forever thing to work on. The thing is, if we can work at it little by little and realize that we are doing this and why then that makes all the difference. I would love to hear your thoughts below and I really hope this helps!

Love & Light,

Tuscany

Here is me after Yoga this morning feeling AMAZING!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Life · Mental Health

Life After the Pandemic

Image taken from Google

Honestly, I have been having a hard time thinking about what to write lately. Life has been a little crazy for me and for all of us. I know that we are still in a Pandemic but I really wanted to analyze and think about what life is going to be like after all of this. Some states started their self quarantine earlier then others and some are still in it while others are not. It has been interesting to me living in Georgia because we were one of the last states to close and one of the first to reopen. I have a lot of friends in California and they have been dealing with this a lot longer and way more extreme then how it has been here. May is mental health awareness month so I wanted to shed light on the impacts of mental health during this time. To be honest, I really didn’t know how to deal with all of this at first and I was in complete shock and denial. I think we all were in denial. I was surprised with how I handled it because with someone who has anxiety and panic attacks you would think that I would be freaking out. I was actually weirdly calm and thought something was wrong with me. I was reading how people who have anxiety have been more calm during this Pandemic because they are used to dealing with chaos and are almost numb to it. We also feel less alone in feeling anxiety since collectively everyone is feeling similar ways. This doesn’t mean I didn’t care or worry about myself or my loved ones but I knew that I had no control over the situation. I think we can be afraid to surrender to things because we want control but the thing is we never had control, all we had was anxiety. I started hearing from friends who have never discussed their fears with me feeling so worried about all of this and for once I wasn’t the only one always feeling worry. I actually feel like I started to relate with more of my friends on a deeper level because of all of this. Sometimes we want to control the outcome and especially when we don’t know what that outcome will be. Once we are able to give up control, breathe, and let go of our expectations then we can help ease that anxiety and panic. We have all had to learn Zoom and more technology and let me tell you it has been a learning curve for me and I am sure for you!

During this time, I have seen people connect more then ever and come together to help others. Schools, yoga studios, meetings, DJ sets, brunch and any other social activities have turned into Zoom meetings. People are doing more arts and crafts then ever, creating new things, watching a lot of Netflix, reading more, cooking more, connecting more, using social media for free work outs and realizing that we can basically do everything on technology. It is honestly beautiful the way that we have navigated technology to continue life and keep things going. Although, I wonder if after all of this if businesses, schools, teachers, etc; will continue to use technology instead? I am worried that people will still be so fearful of being around one another that they will want to continue keeping a distance. Parents will be worried about their kids friends coming over and everybody will be wearing a mask. I am worried that concerts and feeling free at them will not be the same. I have noticed that everyone has different opinions and ways of handling this Pandemic and that is OKAY! I have noticed some people really came together to help others but I have also noticed a huge judgement zone of rude people. I know under that is fear and some people react when they are angry out of fear, but it really sucks to see people so mean to others.

Also, I wonder what the mental health impact of all of this will be. I know we focus so much on physical health but being isolated from others can be very damaging to someones well being. Some people have had to stay home in terrible abusive situations which I can’t imagine how hard that has been. People use school or work to escape from abuse and now they have been stuck. I wonder the impact this will have on teenagers who didn’t get to go to Prom or walk for graduation. To the kids, who haven’t been able to see their friends and are sitting in front of a screen all day learning things. To the health care workers who are frustrated, angry, tired, and have no idea how long this will go on for or if there work will ever be the same. There are so many people out of jobs and businesses who are barley going to make it. Businesses who have already went bankrupt and people who are already out on the streets from not being able to afford their bills. To the grocery store clerks, who have been dealing with the pressure and stress of all of this.

There were a lot of birthdays not celebrated how we normally would. I know I was super bummed that my 30th birthday was right when this all started. It was not what I expected at all, but there I go again with EXPECTATIONS! Most of my friends weren’t able to join in on the fun because of it and I was super bummed. Then, I started to see weddings being cancelled or rescheduled and I realized me complaining about my 30th birthday wasn’t as upsetting as that probably was. I know that was a difficult decision for people and its sad because it is such an exciting time. Weddings are something you plan for all year and have everything ready and so I can’t imagine the anxiety and sadness assiscated. Another thing, is babyshowers or pregnant mamas. I personally have two people in my life who are pregnant during this and I know it hasn’t been easy. They have had to be extra careful and have to stay home basically. I know it is hard that they can’t have a traditional baby shower and things will be different when they go into labor as well. I think its okay to be sad or mourn these things. These are all such exciting times in our lives and we should be bummed that things are different. I just really hope that going forward that these things will be normal again. I will say, I have loved seeing all the virtual baby showers and especially the drive up celebrations! I have seen people get in their cars and drive by someones house with music and balloons and celebrate them! A new normal I guess.

I know this all sound scary to think about but this is the reality of the situation. It is really really hard for so many people and for others it hasn’t been hard at all. I want to give my love and support to all of those who have struggled during this time and will continue to struggle because of this. I really get scared to think about the mental health impact this will have on millions of people. I really believe people are experiencing depression, panic, and anxiety for the first time ever.

Personally, I had a lot of ups and downs during this time but I was very grateful to get so much time at home with my Husband. He is always traveling for work and never gets a break and so it was very nice having him home finally. We are fortunate that we were able to stay home and have the means to do so. Honestly, it has been so good for our marriage and has strengtened our bond. It has allowed us that quality time together that we usually don’t ever get. I am sure the same goes for you! I think either some couples have either had enough of each other or this is exactly what they needed. I have enjoyed slowing down and just hanging out at home. I know others haven’t had that luxary and it has been harder depending on where you live as well.

My point of all of this is that it really makes you think if life will ever be the same or if zoom calls and gloves and masks will be a new normal? I wonder if kids will ever have a regular school day again and if traveling will ever be the same. I wonder if parents are going to have to teach their kids more instead of teachers? Will parents have to work from home if schools are closed? Will there be activities for after school for all the kids that need that interaction with other kids? This really should make us all aware that we do not have any control and at any moment anything can happen and change. I know it can be so hard to go with the flow but this shows us that things are out of our control. Yes, it is up to us to stay safe and stay home but are we in control of anything else? Nope. Humans need each other and need physical touch so I really hope that eventually we can be hugging and hanging out again.

I hope eventually we will see smiles on peoples faces and not covered by a mask. I hope that we can go travel the world and be with loved ones. I hope that people continue to check in on others, keep connecting, creating, loving, and taking a step back and staying present. We are so used to being super busy and constantly moving that we never take time to just sit at home. I encourage you that even when things get busy again to come back to the moment of being with yourself and remembering whats important. Also, I think we should continue keeping in touch with people and checking on people. I think that this reminded us of what is important, what lasts, and what doesn’t. All of the bars, travels, events, and fun are not everything. These are fun things that we are lucky to be able to do and have but as you can see it can be taken away at any moment. So focus on your relationships and nurting those 🙂

The one thing I will say, is no matter your thoughts on this subject PLEASE be kind to others. You have no idea what someone is dealing with and so let them do what they are going to do. We can not control others and it is not our job to do so. There is a way to say things to someone to show you care instead of accusing them or attacking their character.

I want to know your thoughts…what do you think life will be after this and how have you handled it?

Love & Light,

Tuscany

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.