1. Be aware of your negative thoughts.
“I am so stupid. I hate myself. I am not good enough. There is too much bad in the world. Something bad is going to happen.” We all have thoughts like this, and the better we become at noticing our negative thinking patterns, the more we can do to combat them. It is natural to want to hide them or push them to a dark corner of our minds, but until they are out in the open, they cannot be dealt with properly.
2. Don’t get angry with yourself for being sad or having negative thoughts.
The first instinct when you feel down or have bad thoughts is to scream at yourself to stop thinking them, but your mind is just as rebellious as you are when people tell you that you cannot do something. So really you’ll just keep thinking about them and feeling sad. Everyone has negative thoughts sometimes, and if you get angry at yourself for being sad, you’ll get sadder, and angrier which can be become a vicious cycle.
3. Come up with a logical argument that disputes your negative thoughts.
Anxiety, depression, fear, and sadness are logic’s worst enemies. They don’t believe in logic, but don’t underestimate rational thinking. Your brain has learned to think a certain way, so when you try to replace fearful and negative thinking with rational thinking, your brain will reject it at first. Keep firing. You have to retrain your brain to believe the truth. Come up with a rational argument, say it out loud, write it down, and repeat it as much as you have to in order to believe it.
4. Try to focus less on all the things you have to do and more on all the things you are capable of doing.
We all have overwhelming to-do lists, but we also have long lists of things we can accomplish and the outcomes of those accomplishments. Don’t just think of all the things you have to do as a mother. Think of the look on your daughter’s face when you take the time to tuck her in and pack her lunch. Think less of all the classwork you have to complete this semester and instead think of the degree you will earn and the impact your career will have on the world.
5. Take time to do what makes you happy.
This may seem obvious, but in our busy lives we often do not take the time we need to do what we love. It is great to devote time to others and to help people, but self-care is important because it makes you healthier and more capable of helping others. Do the thing that makes your face hurt from smiling too much. Take that photography class. Take long baths by yourself. Get a massage. Meditate. Exercise. Take care of you so you can feel better and do more good.
6. Remember your importance.
You are powerful. We all have talents, and we are all capable of kindness, compassion, growth, and love. You are a living, breathing inspiration. Every time you conquer an obstacle, smile at a stranger, create a piece of art, or pray for a friend, you make an impact. You are an essential part of someone’s day, and even when things are dark, there is unexpected good in every tomorrow.