As a motivational speaker, I have seen hundreds of people who suffer from low quality of life due to their own negative thought patterns. The stress from their lives has caused them to adopt patterns of self-deprecation and doubt. Many people do not realize that the way they think is dysfunctional; they assume that everyone thinks that way, or that they are inherently bad and deserve the daily berating they give themselves. I am here to tell you that negative self-talk is unhealthy for your body, mind, and spirit, and limits your ability to reach your full potential. The way you speak to yourself creates your reality. When you say to yourself that you will never succeed, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Thankfully, you do not have to live like that. There are ways of freeing yourself from these thought patterns.
Ruminating is the act of dwelling on negative feelings. It is a vicious cycle where you cannot escape the negative thought patterns. When you find yourself stewing in your negative thoughts, it is important to first stop and recognize what you are doing. You may even find it helpful to say it out loud — “I’m ruminating, and I need to stop.” Of course, it is not as simple as turning off a switch; negative thoughts have a way of crawling back into our consciousness. But the act of acknowledging that what you are doing is not helpful is the first step to making a change.
Challenge negative thinking
Now that you know that you have fallen into a negative thought pattern, you have the opportunity to challenge it. Start by asking yourself the following questions:
- Why am I thinking in this negative way?
- How does this negative thinking serve me?
- Is there a different way for me to look at this situation?
- Is there anything positive about this situation?
- What is thinking like this doing to help me achieve my personal goals?
Separate your mistakes from your self-worth
Everyone makes mistakes. It is what makes us human. Mistakes are actually an amazing opportunity in life to change our course. Using mistakes as a way to inform behavior and move on is something that all successful people do. The key is to not let them define who you are. Challenge the idea that you are your mistakes by changing the language you use about them. Instead of, “I am a bad student who will never succeed because I forgot to turn in this assignment,” think to yourself, “Forgetting to turn in that assignment was an unfortunate mistake. For the next assignment, I will write the due date in my calendar.” Shifting the negative focus from yourself to your actions stops negative thoughts about your self-worth, and turns it into an opportunity to alter your behavior in the future.
When you have lived with negative thought patterns for so long, it can be difficult to break free from them. As a motivational speaker, I have helped countless numbers of people overcome their tendency to ruminate on negative thoughts and move on to be successful in their goals. If you are interested in hearing me speak, click here to book me for an event.