Toxic thinking patterns interfere with one’s self-confidence in a major way. How are you supposed to feel confident, or make the space in your mind to feel good when you focus on the bad? Your brain becomes attuned to looking for more negativity when you focus on it, so small shifts towards the positive can be powerful (How to Overcome Negative Thinking Patterns with Ease). You can identify and erase toxic thinking patterns from your mind.
How much time do you spend each day discussing your problems and focusing on what’s wrong with your life, or the world? I used to think I was problem-solving but I was inviting more negativity into my life. How much time do you spend worrying about the future or ruminating over something you can’t control? How are you supposed to feel confident, or make the space in your mind to feel good when you focus on the bad (How Negative Thinking Kills Your Confidence)?
It’s not just our toxic thinking patterns that gets in the way; it’s our environments too. How much of your day do you surf the internet, refresh your newsfeed, talk with others who are complaining, spreading fear or adding more stress to your life? If you are hanging out with people, who weigh you down you’re bound to feel that negativity as well. You can transform the toxic environments into lessons and learn to think in a healthier way. It will improve your confidence and happiness when you take control over your thoughts.
Five Ways to Transform Toxic Thinking Patterns
- Focus on the good within yourself and others. Look for the light in the darkness. If you focus on all the fear in the world, you’re mind will be filled with anxiety. If you purposely shift towards looking at more of the good, the people and situations that are helping and inspiriting others, you train your mind to become aware of positives in your life. You begin to control your thinking rather than the fear.
- What’s going right? We can look at all the problems in the world and our lives and feel helpless, or we can choose to accept that although problems are bound to come up occasionally, we can use them as reminders to look for what’s going well. You may be angry and frustrated with someone but do you forget about the people who were kind to you this morning?
- Start paying attention to where your thoughts are going. You’ll be surprised to realize just how often you think, speak or act with your focus inadvertently on the opposite of what you want to feel. Instead of beating yourself up for thinking this way, accept it and choose a more positive thought. Look for the good in your day or in the moment to try and turn your mind towards more positive thoughts.
- Honor and recognize the negative thinking patterns. Not forever, just identify them, then purposely chose to problem solve or think about it in a more positive way. For example, I often said, “I’m just so busy and overwhelmed.” When in reality I could say to myself: I notice that I’m less energetic, what changes do I need to make to feel happier?” You, see when you use your feelings as a compass they guide you to what to do.
- Problems don’t disappear, but you can only do so much to handle them right now. If you are waiting to hear from someone and find yourself feeling anxious, you can let your fearful thoughts dictate your mood and spiral out of control, or you can check the facts. “I called and texted them. They have been great about responding in the past. We had a great conversation yesterday, so they’re likely not ignoring me. I know they are busy on that project so maybe they haven’t checked their phone. I can do something to take my mind off of this as I’ve done everything I did everything I can at this point. They wouldn’t want me obsessing over this either.” You are talking yourself into a more secure mindset and are honoring your emotions (How To Stop Worrying About What Others Think).
“Every thought we think is creating our future,” says Louise Hay. How are you taking control of your toxic thinking patterns? Just a small shift can improve your confidence dramatically, try one of these tips today and see how much it helps you.
Emily is the author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are. You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.