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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

How to turn around self-destructive thoughts - Part 2

Hey there, narcissists! We're back with some more ways to turn around your cycle of self-destructive thoughts. (Part 1 is here.)

It's so easy to think one negative thought, and then before you know it, it has completely spiraled into all kinds of other negative thoughts. Then they're all swirling around in your mind, and you don't know how to make them stop. 

Scene from Mean Girls, heehee, but it illustrates the point!
For instance, say you see a pretty girl at the mall (or perhaps even on a blog). You think to yourself (whether consciously or not), "I wish I looked like her." Then your thoughts start spiraling: "She's way prettier than I am. I'm so ugly and fat. I hate the way I look. My hair/body/face aren't as nice as hers. If I looked like her, I'd probably have a boyfriend. What if I never have a boyfriend? What if I'm alone forever? What if I die alone?" Your thoughts may or may not move that quickly or to that extent, but you see how easy it is for one little seemingly-innocuous thought to turn into something much more powerful; your brain takes you years down the road to something that is highly unlikely to happen and leaves you feeling drained of any self-esteem in the present.

One thing that sounds pretty obvious but often hinders us is not getting enough sleep. You will generally be able to control your thought life much better when you're well-rested. The past few nights, I hadn't been sleeping well, and it left me much more open to worrying and all those "what if" thoughts. Last night, I got a really good night's sleep, and it's amazing how different my outlook was this morning from the moment I got out of bed compared to the last couple mornings. Of course, if you can't sleep, you may start to worry, "What if I can't fall asleep and then I'm exhausted again tomorrow?" - another example of letting your thoughts spiral. (If you're having trouble sleeping, there are all kinds of things you can do to help, and we won't go into them here just because there are resources everywhere you turn online or by going to your doctor.)

It's imperative to learn to STOP worrisome or negative thoughts - preferably as they are forming rather than when they're fully formed or spiraling, but you can halt them in any state. 

Something I learned when I went to an anxiety group meeting a few years ago when I was at the peak of my issue: stop "what if" thoughts immediately. Do whatever you have to do to distract yourself from letting that thought fully form and then spiral. If you think it's coming on, turn on some music, call someone, watch TV, force yourself to think about something else, etc. When you're in a better frame of mind later, you'll realize that the negative thought has no hold over you and had no real basis to begin with.

Learning to control your thoughts can take years of practice in some cases (like mine). But that's not the case for everybody. The point is to be patient with yourself and remember it won't always be like this. If you surround yourself with positive-thinking people, web sites, blogs, books, or whatever resonates with you, eventually you'll realize you're controlling your thoughts much more often than they're controlling you. 

The subconscious is a very powerful thing. But it's not always honest with you. Sometimes IT LIES! Your subconscious believes that life experiences have taught it certain things that aren't true (for example: no man can be trusted, no one really cares about me, I'll always feel like this). They're not always logical beliefs, but they can feel so true to you. That's one reason why hypnotherapy can be a positive and powerful agent in turning around those ingrained lies; if you believe it can work for you and allow it to work, it can get in there and dig out those lies, often faster than you can on your own, or at least propel you down that path. 

You need to learn to challenge your thoughts (a/k/a your "self-talk"). Separate the fact from fiction. Just because you feel or think something DOESN'T make it true. Here are two *MUST-READS* on challenging your thoughts to weed out the lies.

 flickr image from SashaW

Some people unknowingly sabotage themselves from being happier with themselves and with their lives. You might subconsciously be doing (and thinking) things that are holding you back for whatever reason. Maybe it's because secretly you think you don't deserve it and aren't worthy of it. I found these three articles, which I thought were so spot-on, and I really hope you will read them too! 

I think the first one also proves what KameraWhore and I already know...that there's no such thing as loving yourself too much!! Think this sounds wrong or conceited? Read the explanation in the article. :)

Remember that if you think a thought, you're most of the way there to making it come true...if you think, "I can never do or have that," you probably won't. As that third article in the previous list says, whatever you "order" in your life is what you'll get.

Finally, ask yourself, if you heard a friend say out loud things about herself that you think about yourself, wouldn't your heart break? Wouldn't you wonder, "How can someone as incredible as she is ever doubt herself?" Well...we can assure you that other people would think the very same thing about you. So cut yourself the same slack you would for a struggling friend; learn to think of yourself as your own best friend, and be as kind in your words and thoughts to and about yourself as you would be to your other friends. One way you can constantly say nice things to yourself is by wearing one of our handmade necklaces. Those who have them have told us over and over that the simple act of wearing them and knowing they're there has helped them change how they see themselves. Definitely works for us!

So, we'd like to know...what resonates with you most in this post? Will you decide to stop letting your self-destructive thoughts control you?