6 TIPS TO STOP NEGATIVE THINKING
I've got to stop worrying so much. I'm making myself crazy.
I usually don't pay much attention to it, but when I do, I realize I am creating it. It's my responsibility. No one else is in there but me. Sure, there are lots of people I talk to all day, but the only voice I hear is my own.
My thoughts are what I hear the most. What did I just say to my husband? Ugh- that wasn't nice, I shouldn't have said that. How are my kids ever going to get out of debt? When will my daughter find a job, get married, and live the way I want her to? Why isn't my friend talking to me? Is she mad at me? Did I say something that hurt her?
Funny, isn't it, how the negative thoughts are so much louder than the positive thoughts? They also stick around much longer. Who needs them? I'm sick of them. It's time to stop the noise inside my head.
No, I am not hearing "voices" ... it's just me in there. There are so many nights when I've been in a deep sleep and BAM! out of nowhere, a random thought comes, jolting me awake, feeling as if someone poured a quad espresso down my throat.
No need to worry! It's natural; it's my thought process- a gift from Hashem - AKA free will. It allows me to make smart choices and good decisions, (and sometimes not such good ones). It can end a fight, help me to apologize, or it can take my hand and lead me down a dark path where it ends up choking me, leaving me gasping for air.
A friend of mine told me she was going on vacation with her three best friends. I asked the obvious question, "Who's going?" She answered, "Me, myself and I." I laughed out lout and thought, Wow- that's so cool. She really enjoys being with herself. She must have a good self-talk system in place. She's lucky. The dialogue I have with myself isn't always so pleasant. I fight with myself a lot. Sometimes I feel as if there's a ping-pong match going on inside my head, back and forth, back and forth. Or sometimes it feels more like I'm playing tether ball in my mind. The goal of the game is to punch the tethered ball around the pole until there is no rope left. The conversations in my head feel like that too; going around and around until they are at the end of the rope. It's strange, because I'm really good at telling other people what they should be thinking.
When I'm in a good headspace, my little chats are pleasant. It feels like me, myself and I are sailing around the under the moonlight on calm water. Those are the chats I want to have more often. I know I can do it. But just like any other behavior that needs to change- like organizing the paper piles on my desk- I need a good system in place; a new habit to form, an erase and replace action plan.
This is the system Mussar has given me to have those happy talks with myself more often.
6 things to practice daily:
1) Listen to your thoughts. Be aware of what you say to yourself. Do you sound like your best friend (You're doing a great job, hang in there, things will get better soon, everything will be fine, believe in miracles, keep praying)? Or do you sound like the high school bully (You're such a jerk, loser, grow up already)?
2) Be on guard! Notice the negative words you tell yourself. The yetzer hara (evil inclination) is waiting to bring you down. As soon as you hear those negative words, put up a STOP sign or chase them away. Get out of here! Go! Talk back to them. Tell them to leave you alone. They aren't welcome inside your head. Leave now! Bye-bye.
3) Say something nice to yourself. Be your own best friend, husband, (or wife), favorite teacher, therapist, or Rabbi. Tell yourself something you want to hear. Be your own cheerleader and coach. What would you want someone to say to you? Then say it to yourself, really say it- say the words out loud or write them down.
4) Pray. Life is too hard to go it alone. Who else will guide you through the rough spots? Who else can you talk to, cry to, who knows you better than anyone else does? Who will love you unconditionally- no matter what?
5) Do something you enjoy. Everybody has something that makes them happy. Some people enjoy a quiet walk. Some people find joy getting their endorphins pumped up at the gym. Do what you love to do. And if you don't have something that you enjoy, maybe now is a good time to find it.
6) Do a mitzvah. Read a Torah book. Call someone in need. Learn with a friend. Visit the sick. Give a donation.
I hope this helps you become your own best friend- so you can go anywhere, do anything, and never feel alone- because you're not... you've got YOU and never forget... that Hashem is there too.
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Keep your headspace a happy place. It's where you live.
What do you do to stop negative thinking?
Please comment or subscibe to my list.
Blessings for peaceful thoughts!