If you’re a human being, I’d venture to bet that you’ve experienced self-doubt or negative self-talk. You know, the kind of thoughts that tell you you’re not good enough, or inner dialogue that asks the “what if” question that leaves you second guessing yourself when you could be spending that energy propelling yourself forward.
As someone who lives with anxiety, I’m no stranger to self-doubt, worry, and negative self-talk. There have been countless instances in my life when I’ve spent precious time consumed by my anxious and scared thoughts. That said, I always find great comfort in knowing that I have the ability to kick Fear out of the conductor seat and regain control of my thoughts and my happiness.
It’s not a novel concept, this “making yourself happy” thing. There’s actually an entire field dedicated solely to Positive Psychology, the study of happiness. So when I, or my clients, find ourselves in a rut, feeling anxious and fearful of the unknown (aka: Life), I suggest taking an active approach to positivity in the following ways:
Monitoring your thoughts and self-talk is a critical component of a positive mindset. This doesn’t mean that anxious thoughts and negative self-talk don’t exist, it simply means that you don’t nurture them. I think of thoughts as seeds in my mind, and if I don’t water or shed light on the negative ones, they simply cannot grow and thrive.
Optimistic, happy people aren’t just lucky unicorns who were born that way. Happy people choose happiness and they choose their optimistic outlook. In other words, an optimist happens to the world, and the world happens to a pessimist. An optimist knows that bad days don’t equate to a bad life, they surround themselves with positivity, and they never underestimate the power of their sense of humor.
Throwing a pity party for yourself or letting Fear drive are easy things to do. I’ve been there, and when that’s the case, I know it’s time to bring gratitude to the forefront of my mind. Paying gratitude a visit is an important exercise that anyone can do. Sit down with a pen and paper, set a timer for five minutes, and write down everything you’re grateful for. I guarantee that by the end of that five minutes, you’ll feel better. Another secret weapon of mine is practicing random acts of kindness. It’s truly impossible to feel down when you make someone else’s day.
For many of us, anxiety, self-doubt, and fear stunt our creativity, yet it’s our creativity that makes us happy. It’s a vicious cycle! This is where I tell people to fake it till you make it. When I’m feeling stuck, I force myself to write; even though the outcome is normally dismal, it sparks the fire that will ultimately get me back on my feet and creating new content. Overall, the best news is that YOU are in control of your life, your outlook, and your energy. The minute you start believing that, I’m confident that nothing will be able to stand in your way!