If you have been reading this blog for a while, or following the Facebook and Twitter page, then you will know that I am all about positive thinking. Some people think of it as some kind of new-wave hippy stuff, but for me changing the way I thought helped me change the way I felt and in turn the way I looked
For years I was my worst enemy. I thought the world was out to get me, there was hardly anything good in my life and I saw the worst in every situation. I would think, or even say out loud, something negative about myself whenever I looked in the mirror and I would always focus on my "faults" rather than all the great things about myself and my life. What good was that doing me? None at all!
When I decided to get healthy, that meant improving my mental health as well and that meant seeing things in a more positive light and not putting myself down all the time. It isn't always like that. Life isn't always sunshine and rainbows and feeling sad or having a rant every now and then is good for us - we shouldn't bottle it up. But, being negative all the time is not good and putting yourself down is not acceptable in any situation in my opinion.
I have learnt a lot over the past few years, but learning to love myself, no matter what stage of my journey I am in, is the best thing I have learnt.
I am not saying that this change was an easy one and it is not a quick one either, but it can be done. Most things worth doing take a while and will be a struggle. I thought it might help people if I shared some of the things that helped me transition into positive thinking.
- Celebrate every success: Most of the time we only celebrate the huge things in life and the small every day things can pass us by. If you have an awesome workout or cook a healthy meal or even do something well at work, then praise yourself for it. Nothing is too small to celebrate and this way you will start seeing the good in every day life.
- Smile more: You might not feel like smiling at times, but give it a try. Sometimes in life we just have to fake it until we make it.
- Write down all of your success: We all have those moments of self doubt when we think we are not good enough, or we haven't done much to be proud of. Well, every time you do something great, write it down and put it in a jar. Then, when you have those days of self doubt, you can read about all the amazing things you have done.
- Meditation and yoga: Meditation and yoga teaches you to focus on your breath. When the negative thoughts start to creep in, do some yoga or meditation and just focusing on something as simple as breathing can really help. It is very relaxing too.
- Positive quotes: Write some of your favourite positive quotes on post-its or paper and stick them around your house as a reminder.
- Surround yourself with positive people: Part of the reason why I was always so negative was because I had a few negative people in my life. When I was round them, it brought out the worst in me. I intentionally drifted away from them and I could then focus on being a more positive person. Surround yourself with people who lift you up.
- Give yourself a break: A lot of my negative thinking came from my want to be perfect. That is unrealistic. As soon as you realise this and give yourself a break, you will start to see yourself in a much better light.
- Replace a negative with a positive: Every time you have a negative thought, follow it with a positive thought - not matter how small or unrelated. Make the positive thing the last thing you remember.
- Write down something you are thankful for: Every day, write down something you are thankful for. It doesn't have to be anything huge, it could be something like having 5 minutes to yourself to have a cup of tea. Writing these things down makes our brain focus on the positives rather than the negatives.
- Challenge your negative thoughts: To be able to really cut back on negative thinking, you need to address why you are thinking like this. Every time it happens, ask yourself why you feel like that and where the thoughts have come from.
Take it one day at a time and don't expect change over night and things will start to get better.
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