Maybe it’s because I spent most of my teenage years watching Scrubs with JD’s famous inner monologue, or maybe I am just an overthinker, but sometimes my internal dialogue needs to be shifted.
When I get stuck in a cycle of negative thinking I have always found it hard to break free. That’s until I discovered meditation, mindfulness, and self-affirmations to help me stay present and positive.
Here’s how I use these techniques to help me get out of the cycle of negative self-talk and catastrophising.
Sometimes that Scrubs-esc inner dialogue of mine becomes pretty negative. And as we know, when one area of your life feels like it’s falling apart it is hard to see much good at all. I get stuck in a cycle of negativity and think about the worst outcome of every situation.
To change this I have to focus on shifting my inner dialogue to something more positive. Research suggests that those who practice positive self-talk have the skills to be able to deal with challenges, reducing the harmful effects of stress.
Here are some examples:
- I am out of shape and eating terribly, there’s no point trying to change.
- I am ready to be strong, healthy, and create new habits.
- I can’t do this.
- I am excited about this new challenge.
- I am embarrassed that I failed.
- I am proud that I tried.
It’s not easy to do. And sometimes I have to physically write down the thought that is plaguing me so I can turn it around.
One great way to keep upbeat is to change things like your phone wallpaper to a positive affirmation or stick up Post-its with affirmations written on them around your house.
Meditation and mindfulness
What I have learnt through my hours on the Headspace app is that all we have is what is in front of us right now. Our brain loves to make up stories and think. We can think about what an event might be like (first day at a new job, night out with our friends, doctor’s appointment) as our brain makes up stories based on what we already know, but we will never actually know how things will play out.
When I find myself catastrophising and overthinking stuck in the past or the future I take a moment to use my senses and breath.
- I take a few breaths
- I think about how my feet feel on the floor or use my hands to feel something
- I focus on looking at an object nearby
- I smell something
Focusing on the senses really helps bring me back to the present moment. Saying a mantra personal to you is also useful.
I set aside 5 minutes each day to formally meditate through Headspace. I then practice mindfulness whenever I get too lost in negative thoughts or worries to help anchor me back to the moment.
All we have is now.