"I'm not smart enough." "I can't do this." "She is so much better than I am." "I wish I were prettier." "I feel so fat."
Have you ever had thoughts like these??
I'm pretty sure we can all relate to having had thoughts similar to these at one time or another. For some of us, these negative thoughts can be a bit more persistent. In light of the recent celebration that was Fat Talk Free Week, a lesson that came up a few weeks ago at Girls on the Run, and a great article I read yesterday on fat talk, another post on conquering negativity and self-defeating thoughts seemed appropriate.
Girls on the Run is one of the things that I look forward to each week. I love the chance to spend time with these determined, smart, silly girls in my group! One of my favorite Girls on the Run lessons we have done so far this season was one a few weeks ago that educated the girls about negative self-talk. We spent some time talking about negative thoughts, and then learned/practiced how to re-frame them. This is something that I often do with my clients! The really fun part was that the girls came up with a noise to use whenever they hear someone fat-talking, or using negative words about themselves (or others) while with the group. They couldn't decide if they liked making 'quacking' noises or 'buzzing' noises better- ducks or bees :). So we let them use both. Imagine 15 8-12 year olds, bzzzz-ing and quacking at the top of their lungs, practicing how to respond to negative self-talk while loving every minute of it. It was fun.
What I love about this idea of responding to negativity with noise is the intentionality of it. So often, people ask how they are ever going to change their thinking patterns... the negative thoughts can feel so overwhelming. This is true- they can feel very overwhelming, especially considering that our thoughts impact how we feel about ourselves, and how we feel about ourselves impacts how we act and behave! Our thoughts create a ripple effect. Because thoughts are automatic, we tend to feel discouraged when these little negative thoughts pop up- especially when we are trying so hard to be positive! The first step though is to become aware of these thoughts as they pop up, so that you might be able to replace them with more positive, encouraging and most of all, truthful thoughts! This idea of responding with noise is a great idea because it is very purposeful, and it is something that is memorable. While you don't have to 'bzzz' at yourself (you can if you want to though!), maybe you can brainstorm and pick an intentional way of responding to your negative thoughts, so that you have a greater awareness of them and can act to re-frame and make them more positive! Some people like to write their negative thoughts down, and re-frame them via journaling. Then when those negative thoughts appear, they can use their 'go-to' re-framed positive thought(s), and replace! The important thing is that you find a method that works for you. Most of all- don't get discouraged. Working to change negative thoughts takes time. Change doesn't happen overnight. Be patient with the process, and if you are having trouble managing the negative thoughts, consider seeking counseling!