Turning negative self-doubt into positive self-confidence

Our minds are a powerful tool. They allow us to problem solve and achieve what we need to on a daily basis, yet all too often they can be our worst enemies.

Negative self-talk can be self-harming to your own mental health and your ability to perform. Learning how to declutter these self-defeating thoughts can have a positive effect on your mental wellbeing.

If you are finding that negative phrases about yourself are starting to make their presence felt, here are some ways that will allow you to return to a more balanced viewpoint.

  • Treat your own thoughts with the same process as you would other people. If you really delve into your thoughts, are they actually true? If a fellow team member was saying the same thing about themselves, would you tell them to stop those negative comments? If you ask this question of yourself when negative thoughts arise, you start to challenge your thinking.
  • Practice self-interruption. Interrupting when others are talking is seen as bad manners, but there’s nothing wrong with doing this when it comes to you. Stop negative self-thoughts when they arise by breaking the pattern. Do something physical like standing up and walking to get a glass of water. You could even make a joke with co-workers. Anything that takes the brain away from its current direction is useful.
  • The world isn’t always black and white. For some this is a safety blanket and simplifies life so that there is always an answer at hand. In fact not being able to see a rainbow of colours and possibilities can be a detriment, and it also takes the richness out of life. Life doesn’t always serve up two options to a solution; being able to embrace whatever unfolds will help in all areas of your life.
  • Don’t dwell on the past. Have you ever been in a room when you first meet someone and they are talking about the bad time they’ve had? Not only does it constantly remind them of their pain, but it’s not good for the wellbeing of those listening either. If you are talking about a bad time in your life, make sure it’s a story with a positive ending. Reinforcing the lessons you’ve learnt and any obstacles that you’ve overcome is an extremely effective way of getting back on the path to self-confidence.
  • Life serves up some bad deals. Some of the most resilient and happy people have taken those bad cards and transformed their lives in spite of it. They are the kind of people that we admire and look up too. Practicing resilience and being able to get back up after a fall not only helps you in the short term, but it gives you the examples you need to create positive self-talk in future.

Having the focus and ability to challenge assumptions is one of the traits of a successful and happy person. Most people, including ourselves, don't realise when we are assuming something without looking at the facts or getting other opinions. Just being aware that assumptions aren’t always right can work wonders for your health and wellbeing.