Stop Saying No
We get used to saying no. “No, I can’t have this.” “No that can’t be done.” “No that won’t happen.” Sometimes we get so used to saying it, that it starts to creep into our dreams, hopes, and opportunities to grow. Then suddenly you’re saying “No, I can’t be normal.” “No, I can’t do that.” “No, ’cause why bother?”
This is your inner monster. The beast inside of you that has nothing better to do than second-guess your every move. And this beast likes rewards, feed it money, food, alcohol, the end of the workday. It’s happy to eat that up, and be quiet for a while. Until you do something it doesn’t like, you do something that is new, unfamiliar, risky, personal, or important to you. And then it’s there, telling you how and why it cannot be done.
The simplest way to control these negative thoughts is to acknowledge them. Acknowledge and explore what anxiety they stem from. Then tell them off. It’s a bit goofy, but simply say to your beast: “That’s nice, we’ll see.” Then continue on doing whatever awesome thing you want to do.
What if that doesn’t work? Maybe these thoughts just keep intruding, here are some more tips for managing negative thoughts.
Self-doubt often stems from how we have learned to react to a given situation. The brain is a funny thing that way, it loves to copy. You look at someone doing something, think about something, remember something, feel something, it wants to fire the same neurons and “reinforce” those thoughts and feelings. Ultimately, what this means is that it takes time and willpower to override your natural programming.
Be an Active Thinker
Find a way to focus. Find a quiet place. Even though it’s hard, face your thoughts and be alone with them. Think through them, understand their basis, and their logic. Get comfortable with them, try to focus on your breathing if they get too overwhelming. Apply these techniques to challenges and struggles in your life. When you’re mad at someone or something, think it through. Be willing to accept that you might be in the wrong.
Self-Talk to Yourself
Don’t give in to negative thoughts. Counter irrational thoughts, with facts and encouragement. Change your inner dialogue. Worry and concern are normal. Hating everything you do isn’t.
Build your Self-Esteem
Think about what you’ve accomplished. Not just the big stuff but also little things, as it’s easy to forget how much you do. Just getting yourself ready in the morning is an accomplishment. It doesn’t feel like it because you’re used to it, but it’d be easy to be lazy. Separate what you do, from what you are.
Side-Step your Willpower
Guilting yourself over doesn’t work, as guilt is a terrible motivator. This is just self-doubt telling you you’re not good enough again. Accept that everyone procrastinates and don’t be guilty about it. Beating yourself up is not nearly as good a motivator as feeling confident and energized.