I have had a pretty shitty week and I decided to write this blog post to clarify my thoughts. Thought I would share it! Here are my tips on how to snap out of a negative mindset – it can be done.
When you are in a negative mindset, you may find that you are thinking a lot of scary thoughts about the future. There’s ideas swirling around in your mind about all the awful thngs that lie ahead and the worrying possibilities. It’s very common to overestimate how awful things will be and to underestimate your ability to cope. Life can seem so overwhelming at times, especially if you have been stressed for a while. Stress has an accumulative effect and over time you become worn down. At the end, it’s the proverbial straw that breaks the camels back. Recognise that you are catastrophising – thinking up worst case scenarios and give it a rest. Right here, right now, you are okay and the awful things you envisage may never come to pass. Things are very rarely as bad as they seem.
Don’t isolate yourself from others
Even though I know this is a bad idea, I still tend to do it. I will withdraw from friends, go quiet and lick my ‘wounds’. I guess I also have the added pressure of thinking that I should cope and have a perfect life (irrational thinking but the pressure exists) because I am a therapist. Wouldn’t it be great though if having a perfect happy life could be so easy? Just get a degree in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and you will never struggle again! I wish that was true but it doesn;t work like that. I may now what to do but that doesn’t mean that I am immune from the stress in life. I may deal with it more efficiently but I still feel sad, mad and fed up.
Spend time with friends – it can be one of the quickest ways to feel better although one of the hardest to put into practice when you are in a negative mindset.
Remind yourself that “this too shall pass”
Right now, in the thick of it – it may seem as if things are hopeless. When we are submerged in raw emotion it can be hard to engage our rational brain and see the end to the anxiety and stress. Thakfully, one thing that is sure is that situations rarely stay the same for very long. So, while you may feel overwhelmed and as if life may never improve, be patient and remind yourself that this situation will resolve itself one way or another.
The intense feelings that you are experiencing now won;t stay this intense. Give it a bit of time. It is comforting to know though that when you feel there is no hope, change is a-coming.
Try not to wallow. Instead – watch a funny movie. Knit something or buy yourself a colouring in book. Move your focus away from what is worrying you. If there is something you can do towards solving the problem, do it but then get back to distracting yourself. Never spend more thime than is necessary focusing on things that freak you out and make you feel fearful. This is what encourages catastrophizing.
Have something to look forward to
When you’re feeling miserable, it can be real ‘picker-upper’ to have something to look forward to. It could be an afternoon of retail shopping, a holiday or a day off from work. Whatever it is – it can help keep a spark of optimism alive. There are always fleeting moments of happiness up for grabs even on a bad day.
I sometimes pend time on Linkedin or Instagram watching cute animal videos – works for me everytime and gets me smiling. Sometimes we just need something to move our focus away from our worries and fears.
Use coping statements
Remind yourself that you have coped with worse things in the past and you are still here to tell the tale and this will be no different. This can help to alter your perspective and help you to push through. believe in your ability to get through even when, in your current state you don’t feel you can handle much at all.
Lastly, be kind to yourself. We ALL have times in life when we feel overwhelemd and unsure of our next step. We can all feel alone in this especially as so many of us hide what is truly going on behind closed doors. Believe me – we all have times when we sob our hearts out and feel life will never get better. It’s something we all go through but not something that we always share with others. We like to come across as if we are coping and on the ball but the truth is that we are all fallible. It really is okay to feel that life is tough and that you can’t cope….in fact – it’s normal.
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash