This week on the podcast, I talked about building self-confidence and being unapologetically yourself. In 2018 my goal is to be more positive and optimistic, regardless of the situation. One way that I’ve been doing this is to recognize negative thoughts and, especially, negative self-talk.
Negative self-talk is defined as the act or practice of talking to oneself, either aloud or silently and mentally in a way that focuses on your perceived faults or shortcomings. The effects of pervasive negative self-talk are overwhelming. It affects our thoughts, actions, emotions, and overall demeanor throughout the day. It can increase anxiety, fear, and feelings of impostor syndrome. When we reframe the thoughts to reflect positively, those effects are equally as numerous: lower stress, reduce anxiety, increased feelings of adequacy, and an open and positive demeanor.
How do we refocus our thoughts? For me, two small changes have made a huge difference over the course of the first month of 2018: meditation and physical reminders.
In today’s day and age, meditation is just as much a part of a healthy lifestyle as exercise or proper nutrition. I’ve tried to begin meditating consistently a handful of times, but life gets in the way. I miss one day and it becomes two or three; two or three turns into a week and the habit is gone. This time, I’ve started to simply take “messy action”.
My goal is to meditate every day. Ideally, it’s 10-15 minutes right when I wake up in the morning. But if I wake up late, it happens at lunch time. If I wake up late and have a busy day, it happens right before I go to bed. There is no perfect action; I only have to meditate. The time of day might fluctuate. It might be 10 minutes or it may only be one minute. But I take action, even if it’s not perfect, to build the habit minute by minute.
Physical Reminders: La Clé Refocus Bands
When I set my intention at the start of the year to have a more positive outlook on all situations, I wanted something I could wear to would remind me, each day, to reflect on the positive and be unapologetically myself. I found La Clé Refocus bands. These bracelets look similar to a hair tie and on the inside of each there’s a message.
It doesn’t matter what they think.
I chose this band to remind me to be unapologetically myself. If you notice a negative thought, simply flip the band to read the message on the inside. I always pause for a moment, take a deep breath, actively work to reframe my thinking or bring a positive thought to mind, and move on with my day.
It’s amazing the difference I’ve noticed in just a short time. By reframing my negative thoughts, or actively replacing them with positive ones, I’ve noticed a sizable decrease in the overall number of negative thoughts and feelings I have in day-to-day situations.
I challenge you all to do the same. Incorporate meditation, even if only for a single minute at the end of your day. Find a tangible reminder to keep near you to both remind you to think positively and be unapologetically yourself. Refocus your thoughts.