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Last Updated on March 2, 2021

10 Negative Thoughts We All Have and What to Think Instead

10 Negative Thoughts We All Have and What to Think Instead

I’ll never forget the first time I heard that the way I was talking to myself, realizing how it directly influenced every aspect of my life. We can be our own worst enemy at times and our internal conversation and negative thoughts can be extremely limiting. Like most people, I was blind to this somewhat obvious piece of information.

Eventually, I realized that the negative thoughts I had weren’t facts at all, but instead self imposed limitations that I was putting on myself, which I also had the power to remove. Over the last decade, it has become very clear to me that most of us actually have very similar negative thoughts. Here are some of the most common negative thoughts we all have and what we should think instead.

1. I Am Not Good Enough

Have you ever thought that you weren’t good enough? When we feel that we aren’t good enough, we tend to drown in this emotion of self-doubt and pity. It can be a symptom of low self-esteem, but the truth is that every one is good enough.

You might not have the skills or tools to achieve what you want now, but you are certainly good enough and worthy of receiving what you want in life. If you have a $10 bill, and it falls on the ground into a puddle of mud, does that $10 lose its value? Of course not! So why do you feel that you lose value based on what you have done in life?

What to Think Instead

Instead of saying, “I am not good enough,” tell yourself that you are worthy of all you desire in this life, just like everyone else[1]. Focus on the things you like about yourself in this moment. You can even make a written list and post it nearby if it helps you to see it each day[2]

Practice Loving Yourself to Overcome Negative Thoughts

    2. I Can’t Do It

    “Can’t” is one of the most limiting words that you can tell yourself. Henry Ford once said,

    “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you are right.”

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    If you tell yourself that you can’t, you are sending messages to your mind and brain that you can’t, and so that will be your experience. Your mind won’t try if you have already told it that something is impossible. 

    What to Think Instead

    Instead of focusing your negative thoughts on what you think you can’t do, tell yourself, “I can do whatever I put my mind to.” While we all do have limitations, believing in your abilities in the first step to achieving your short and long term goals in life. 

    And sometimes, you may just need a little motivation boost. Get the Instant Motivation Boost Worksheet, it’s a free worksheet that will guide you to do the little things for an instant boost of motivation. Grab the free worksheet here.

    3. I’m Not as Lucky as Other People

    This thought normally comes from holding an illusion that other people’s lives are better and they are luckier, and that is what separates you from them. “Perfect” doesn’t exist, and there is often a lot of effort that goes behind that perceived “luck.”

    It is very disempowering to think that life will never offer you good things; the truth is that if you tap into some gratitude, you’ll see that you already have good things all around you. 

    What to Think Instead

    Instead of focusing on all the luck others seem to have, tell yourself, “Good things can and will happen to me.” Use a sense of gratitude to begin to notice all of the good things you would normally never notice. For example, when was the last time you felt grateful for the roof over your head, the food in your fridge, or your comfy bed?

    4. I Don’t Think I’ll Ever…

    Whatever you believe will become your reality, this is true. You shape your future every day by the choices you make and your habits. You can sabotage your opportunities by limiting yourself with negative thoughts.

    What would it be like if you believed that you could do what you really desired and have the experiences you wished instead? It is not about getting it right the first time, but trying. Don’t stop yourself before you have even given yourself a chance.

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    What to Think Instead

    Don’t limit yourself with negative thought patterns that tell you you’ll never do something. Instead, tell yourself, “I am confident I will…” Even if you don’t feel confident in this moment, feeding your brain positive thoughts will slowly build confidence over time. 

    5. I Should Be Better Than I Am

    Using the word “should” in this context makes this a truly negative thought and makes one feel less than they are. How often do you find yourself saying “I should be more clever, more disciplined, more productive, etc. than I am”? Remember how you feel immediately afterwards?

    What to Think Instead

    Tell yourself, “I am making an effort to change what I don’t like.” Everyone has parts of themselves that they hope to improve, and this is certainly possible, but it requires approaching these things with a sense of self-love and patience. 

    Set yourself goals for the things you are not happy with instead of telling yourself what you “should” be like or be doing. Take action the things you wish to change and remove limiting modals from your vocabulary.

    Here are some ways you can start to improve yourself.

    6. I Am Not Strong Enough

    It’s normal to feel that you are not strong enough at times[3]. We are all human, and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t feel weak at times. What is important though, is the conversation you have with yourself afterwards. If you keep reinforcing the fact that you don’t feel strong with negative thoughts, how can you expect to feel?

    What to Think Instead

    Instead of focusing on your weaknesses, tell yourself that you are strong enough to deal with the challenges in front of you, and support yourself in finding the strength you need in that moment.

    7. Nobody Cares

    It might feel that you are alone at times and that nobody cares, but I am convinced that there are people thinking about you that you don’t even know of. People do care; not everyone expresses their emotions in the same way. It isn’t nice feeling that nobody cares, so stop focusing on that and assuming what other people feel when you don’t actually know. Change your focus to something that makes you feel better instead.

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    What to Think Instead

    Instead of assuming that no one cares about you, remind yourself that there are people in your life who do, in fact, care very much. Do your best to cultivate those relationships and accept the love others are willing to give in order to combat your negative thoughts. 

    8. I Am Not Smart Enough

    This is a very general statement, yet many people tend to say it often and then feel bad about themselves afterwards. What are you not smart at specifically? I bet that if I asked you to identify some areas that you are smart in, you could if you really tried.

    Not everybody is clever and perfect in every area, and this is what makes us all unique. If you feel that you are lacking in a certain area of knowledge, instead of producing negative thoughts, make time to study and learn whatever it is that you want so that you don’t feel this way any more.

    What to Think Instead

    Instead of believing that you’re not intelligent, remind yourself that you are smart in a unique way and that you are capable of improving your knowledge in any area you choose. Lifelong learning can be a goal you constantly work toward.

    9. If I Don’t Do Well, I’m a Failure

    Holding high expectations for yourself and having conditions attached to your self worth on your performance isn’t fair. You need to take chances in life if you want to get different results. Don’t be scared of failing; the real failure lies in never having tried.

    What to Think Instead

    When facing a challenging situation or possible risk, tell yourself, “I am going to try; I am not scared of failing; that is not what is important.” Even if you “fail,” you will learn something about the world and yourself, and as long as that’s the case, nothing is ever a true failure. 

    10. Bad Things Will Happen

    Thinking negatively in general is thinking that whatever happens, it is most likely going to be the worst case scenario. What would it be like if you imagined the best case scenario instead? Our positive and negative thoughts are very powerful, and it’s common to use visualization as a technique to imagine the best case scenario.

    Whether you imagine the worst or the best case scenario, you are influencing your results. Stop focusing on what you don’t want to happen and rather on what you want to happen.

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    What to Think Instead

    Instead of thinking that bad things will happen when you try something, try thinking that the best will happen. This way, you’ll aim high, and even if you fall a little short, you’ll still get farther than you were before. 

    Final Thoughts

    We all have negative thoughts from time to time. However, when the majority of your thoughts are negative, you are undermining your happiness at the end of the day. Our thoughts directly affect how we feel and, therefore, what we do in life.

    If you’re feeling sad and are overwhelmed with negative thoughts, you can consider contacting a mental health professional to give your mental health a boost and get you back on track toward positivity.

    Don’t limit yourself or what is possible for you. Master your thoughts and change your results. 

    More on How to Stop Negative Thoughts

     

    Featured photo credit: arash payam via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Kirstin O´Donovan

    Certified Life and Productivity Coach, Founder and CEO of TopResultsCoaching

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    Last Updated on March 2, 2021

    20 Small Habits That Will Help You Become Mentally Strong

    20 Small Habits That Will Help You Become Mentally Strong

    Everyone wants to start out the year strong, but it’s finishing strong that’s also important. Many resolutions and goals are never reached because we get caught up in what’s happening in our life, and because we haven’t developed the mental strength to keep ourselves going when the momentum from the New Year wears off.

    However, a lot of getting yourself to your goals and surpassing them is about being mentally strong for when those hard moments hits. Discipline is developed, so it will power the continual ability to make great choices toward what you want. Remember, not to sacrifice what you really want for some pleasure now.

    Being mentally stronger doesn’t mean it has to be a tough grind, here are a few tips and tricks which can help you. Just like if you want to be stronger physically you have to do exercises to keep the muscles strong, do build mental strength you have to do exercises to help build those habits and beliefs.

    One of the best ways to build mental strength is to find habits and small tips throughout the day to keep your energy high, mind-set positive, and help develop habits and skills which will help move you forward and keep you feeling good about what you’re doing. Meanwhile, you’re building mental strength in a way which won’t leave you feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.

    Set yourself up for a mentally stronger and happier year by applying a few of these tips:

    1. Make Your Bed

    You’re already accomplishing things and getting off to a great start when you make your bed first thing in the morning. Remember the saying, “The state of your bed is the state of your head?” There is plenty of truth to it. While it may seem like a small step, it has huge benefits.

    Research shows people who make their beds daily are overall happier with their lives, more productive, and have a stronger sense of pride and accomplishment in their day for all the tasks they do. This one little thing gets you in the habit of finishing projects right away in the morning. One task down before you’ve even brushed your teeth, what a great feeling!

    2. Say Nice Things to Yourself Daily

    Make a commitment to cut down on the negative self-talk and pump up the nice things you say to yourself. You may feel ridiculous at first as you become your own cheerleader in your head, but think about how great you’ll feel as you make stronger and stronger decisions about your life. Those same decisions are what will keep you moving toward your goal.

    Be mindful, negative thoughts can sneak their way in really quickly, when you catch them, just recognize them as untrue (even if you have to say it out loud) and replace them with a positive thought.

    3. Write Down Something Great About Each Day

    You can keep it in a jar, a journal, a shoe box, or wherever you want, but write down something great about each day. This helps create gratitude in your life.

    At the end of the year, you’ll be able to sit down and look back at the positive things you’ve experienced and accomplished, instead of only the challenges or rough patches which made you want to give up.

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    4. Write Down the Positive Aspects of Every Challenge

    Life is a lot about perspective. Change your perspective and you can change your life.

    Instead of griping and being angry or disappointed (indulging in negative self-talk) concerning any challenges which may come up, build up your positive mental strength by writing down positive aspects and things you could be learning from the challenges. Try your best to find something to be grateful about every day.

    5. Practice Mindful Happiness While Commuting

    Mindfulness is about being in the moment. To get comfortable with being happy, practicing being mindfully happy.

    Take an event or moment or memory when you are feeling good, and let yourself indulge in the feeling. Look at how it sits in your body, how your thoughts change, how your body changes, and what it feels like; see if there are any colors which it may feel like.

    Spend some time with your happy mood. At the end of it, notice the feeling of happiness and joy, it comes from you, and it spontaneously shows up when you are in mindfully in the moment.

    6. Practice Being Your Own Best Friend Daily

    This is a great way to become mentally stronger, because it teaches us to rely on ourselves, and not need others to pick us up, because we can do it ourselves.

    Next time something isn’t going quite as planned, or you start to insult or criticize yourself, pause and ask:

    “Would I let my best friend treat me this way?” or “Would I treat my best friend this way?”

    The answer is probably no, and it’s a great idea to love yourself as much, if not more, than you love your best friend.

    7. Practice Saying “No” without Explanation

    As a society, we’ve decided somewhere along the lines that we have to have a reason for saying no, and not wanting to do something isn’t a good enough reason. If you find yourself in that’s line of thinking, then throw it out.

    Learn to say no. You don’t have to explain your actions or validate your decisions to anyone about why you don’t want to do something.

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    8. Practice 20 Minutes of Self-Care Daily

    It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, if you don’t take some time to really deeply care for yourself, you’ll eventually run your well dry and not be able to love and care for those around you.

    Self-care can be something as complex as having a manicure or spa day, or as simple as locking yourself in the bathroom for five minutes just to have some alone time. It doesn’t matter what it is, make sure you create some space and/or activities which leave you feeling full and happy.

    Take a look at The 5-Step Guide to Self Care for Busy People.

    9. Do a Hobby or Activity Daily Which Brings You Joy

    This is a great form of self-care. See if you can’t find a hobby or activity which you enjoy just because it makes you feel better.

    As you become more confident and competent at it, you’ll discover how confidence and self-belief will pool over into other areas of your life. The positive talk you use and the joy you find in your hobby will help make you mentally stronger as you tackle the harder aspects of your chosen goal.

    10. Set a Goal to Practice More Gratitude and Less Complaining

    Getting caught up in the cycle of complaining can make you hard to be around, but it also can take quite a toll on your mental health. Instead of just endlessly complaining about a situation, try and find something to be grateful about.

    11. Set a Goal for at Least 8 Hours of Sleep a Night

    This is huge! You’ve seen small children lose their mind when they are too tired. Adults are the same way, only we don’t usually end up eventually passed out in the middle of our dinner plate. When you’re too tired, you make poor decisions, your mental strength goes down, your rational mind turns into a 6-year-old’s, and your body responds by upping stress hormones.

    Make sleep a priority this year to help you stay mentally strong. A minimum of eight hours is essential, if you’re any type of athlete, the more the better. If you’re stressed, make sure you are giving yourself sufficient time to rest and relax before going to sleep in order to allow your body to maximize the sleeping hours.

    12. Set a Goal to Eat Clean Food Daily

    New research is showing the link between your gut health and your mood, and one of the things which directly relates to your gut health is the food you put in your body.

    By reducing inflammatory food such as any food allergies, grains, dairy, and alcohol, you can reduce the stress on your digestive system. A healthier digestive system means less sick days, more energy, and can also improve symptoms of depressions and anxiety.

    Try to shop the outside edge of the grocery story and eat only food you make. Learn ore about clean eating here: What Is Clean Eating (Essential Tips + Clean Eating Meal Plan)

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    13. Cut Your Social Media Time in Half

    We tend to put our best foot forward on social media, and this can end up with us trying to compare our lives to the highlights reel of another person’s life. Doing so can leave you feeling awful and discontent about where you are in life and the great things you’ve accomplished. It can also cause you to forget how many great lives you touch throughout the day by being the amazing person you are.

    Half your social media time and spend the time reconnecting with people you love, reading a book, or practicing the hobby you enjoy. Whatever you decided to fill the time with, make sure it’s something which lifts you up.

    14. Put up at Least Three Inspirational Quotes to Read Daily

    When things get tough and you feel like you’re not making progress, uplifting words can go a long ways toward keeping you on track.

    Take the time to post a few inspiring quotes or pictures (maybe even a vision board) somewhere you’ll see it every day. Words of encouragement and motivation can go a long when you’re in a bad place.

    Check out some of these powerful quotes: 50+ Best Motivational Quotes To Overcome Life’s Challenges

    15. Visualize Your Goals for 10 Minutes Daily

    Take the time to visualize the end result of your goals and also the challenges you’ll overcome in between.

    In addition to visualizing your goal, try to carefully plan for your way to achieving your goal. The Dreamers’ Guide To Taking Action And Reaching Your Goal can help you do this. It’s a free guide that can help you plan and align your everyday actions with your ultimate goal. Grab your free guide here.

    Practice visualizing how you’re going to solve potential problems. See yourself where you want to be, and feel how great it feels to accomplish your goals.

    16. Let Go of the People Pleasing Tendencies

    In an effort to be a  good person, we often over-extend ourselves and commit to things we really don’t want to do.

    Embrace the fact that you can’t please everyone. Let go of the need to let others’ happiness and goals overrule what’s best for you, your health, and your happiness.

    17. Set a Monthly Budget Which Includes Something Fun

    Anything fun should do, it doesn’t have to be big. It could be buying a new shirt, going to the movie, or getting yourself the favorite bubble bath — something you don’t normally let yourself reach for, something which will make you smile and feel wonderful when you come into contact with it.

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    Whether it’s lighting your new candle, soaking in a tub with your favorite bubble bath, let yourself enjoy a small splurge every month or few weeks.

    18. Stop Indulging in Relationships or Activities Which Drain You of Energy

    Go where you’re celebrated. Do things which leave you feeling joyful. Make yourself mentally stronger by building positive relationships and letting go of toxic ones.

    Letting go of toxic relationships or places isn’t easy but, you have to make a commitment to being stronger. Without the mental and emotional drain, you’ll find more energy and more happiness throughout your day.

    19. Cut the Word “Should” from Your Vocabulary

    Think about when the last time you thought you should do something. Wasn’t exactly a fun and exciting thought was it?

    “Should” usually comes with the feelings of obligation and heavy responsibility, and rarely a feeling of joy. “Should” has a tendency to come with self-criticism and harsh judgement, neither of which support the foundation you’re building this year to become mentally stronger.

    Instead of using “should,” re-phrase your sentence into something you look forward to doing. For exampIe, “I would like to be mentally stronger.” or “I would like to be physically healthier.”

    20. Journal for Three Pages or Five Minutes Morning And/Or Night

    If you choose to journal in the morning, write about your dreams, dump all your worries or concerns on the page, to creatively express anything which may have worried you the nigh before. It’s also a great way to write down your goals and inspirations for the day, get a feeling for what you want to see happen and an action plan.

    If you choose to journal at night, unwind about all the things which may have stressed you out, and celebrate all the things you did right.

    No matter what approach you take this year, remember:

    With a consistent positive practice, you can strengthen your mental muscles and over time, you’ll become mentally stronger!

    Featured photo credit: iam_os via unsplash.com

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