Ever think “she’s in better shape than me,” “I’m going to fail chem,” “colleges won’t accept me,” or “I’ll never fall in love?”
Totally normal. Everyone, even the pretty, rich, famous, omg-she-has-it all people, have negative thoughts that bring them down. Sometimes, negative or anxious thinking can be motivating, helping move us to actions like working out, mastering the periodic table, or finishing the first draft of our zombie novel for our college application. However, much of the time, negative thoughts can be extreme. They make us unnecessarily insecure, take jabs at our confidence, and make us question our abilities to achieve our dreams. Obviously, that’s no fun.
So what can you do about it?
1. Catch your negative thoughts. When you start to have negative or insecure thoughts, make a mental note or a physical note by journaling the thought and the circumstances surrounding it. What triggered it? How did it make you feel? Sometimes, just writing down an unwanted thought can help lessen it’s effect.
2. Seek out the truth. Ask yourself if what you’re thinking is true. Actually true. A good test is, would everyone think this is true? Or is it possible I am being too hard on myself?
3. Think a new thought. If you find yourself having a negative thought. Think a more realistic one. Turn “I’m never going to be prepared for the SAT,” into “I’m going to do the best I can to cover as much ground as I can before the test.”
4. Change your focus. Sometimes, shaking negative thoughts takes some extra effort. If you find yourself in a downward spiral, focus on something else. Listen to music, watch your favorite movie, call a friend, or go work out.
5. Be grateful…for anything. That’s right. To get yourself thinking more positively, focus on stuff that makes you happy, the delicious lunch you just ate, the YouTube video you just saw, last night’s funny text convo with your best friend. You can think about what you are grateful for, write it down, or give someone a high five about something awesome.
6. Ask for help. Negative thinking in excess can lead to or be a sign of a depression and other conditions. If you’re having trouble managing your negative thoughts, or if you’re thinking about harming yourself, tell someone. Parents, doctors, and school counselors can help.