Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Talk Yourself Out of a Bad Mood.

Lego space men by Gaetan Lee

Just like negative thinking can bring you down, positive self-talk can make you feel more optimistic and energetic. This works especially well if what you’re worried about is a future event, or what you fear “might” happen. For instance, I recently started a new job. After not working for two years, I was understandably nervous. “Would I do a good job? Would people like me?”

Some of the possible problems for me were; I would look foolish because I couldn’t find my way around and would get lost, or my clothes wouldn’t be nice enough because I hadn’t purchased anything new.

Instead of dwelling on negative scenarios, I started picturing positive ones: me walking in with a big smile on my face as I greeted my new boss. The poised stride I had when I walked in with my favorite, most comfortable work outfit for my first day. I could actually feel the confidence of myself in these images and they were very reassuring.

And of course everything was just fine. I didn’t have any major problems, found everything I needed to, and got along quite well with my new coworkers. By redirecting my negative thoughts, I was able to save myself hours of worry over things that didn’t even happen.

For me, the easiest thing to do was to actually speak to myself out loud. I would say, “Shirley, you’re going to be great. You are smart and capable and a fast learner. You’re really going to enjoy this job.” I find that speaking out loud paints a more vivid picture in my head. (Of course, if you need to do this for work, or public speaking, you may need to speak only in your head, unless you want some really strange looks.)

The main thing is, if you notice self-doubt rearing its ugly little head, put a stop to it. When that inner critic tells you, you can’t do it, tell her to put a sock in it! Take charge of your thinking and put an end to your worry with some positive words. If you need a little inspiration, just think of what your best friend, mother or spouse would tell you, and say it aloud.

Sometimes I even imagine that my favorite cartoon characters or movie character giving me the advice. It makes me laugh, and that breaks the spell of those pessimistic thoughts and makes me feel better instantly. Try it yourself. It might be just what you need to boost your self-esteem and get you through a tough time.

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