Here's an exercise to try in your journal:
More reasonable, positive thoughts:
Situation: I weighed myself
Negative thought: Wow, I haven't lost any weight, I am such a fat cow!
Feelings: sad, anger, frustrated
More reasonable, positive thought: Okay, I haven't gained any weight and I am going to the gym so I am working on it.
Feelings: calm, motivated
Do you see how your interpretation of the situation will impact your thoughts and thus your feelings and thus your self-esteem? I believe that many people simply do not understand how their self-talk impacts them. Would you call your best friend a "fat cow?" Of course not, so why would you call yourself one?
So, are you positive or negative thinker? If you're a positive thinker congratulations! You may leave now, ha! For those of you that fall into the negative thinking category here are a few strategies to aid in changing that behavior:
- Thought-Stopping - when you notice you are engaging in negative thought literally visualize a big, red stop sign and tell yourself "stop!" Next, insert a more positive thought. If you can't readily come up with one, think of something such as a funny joke you heard, your child, or anything that automatically produces a positive feeling. This takes practice so don't give up after a try or two. Keep at it!
- Change self-limiting statements! For example don't say "I can't do this" replace that thought with "How can I do this."
- Journal, journal, journal! Everyday take some time and process your day and figure out where negative thinking interfered using the exercise above. If you practice this, eventually you will do this in your head as it is happening or shortly thereafter.
- Ask friends and family to point out when you are expressing negative statements so you can change the pattern immediately.
- Practice, practice, practice! Did I mention you should practice all of the above? Remember that any pattern of behavior that we have from eating, to smoking, to self-talk takes time and consistency to change. Don't give up!
Self-Esteem: A Proven Program of Cognitive Techniques for Assessing, Improving, and Maintaining Your Self-Esteem - it is an easy read and walks you through, step-by-step, in changing your pattern of thought.
I truly hope you find this helpful and I look forward to your comments!
Have a wonderful week!