4 ways to deal with your negative thoughts - hint they're generally just trying to look after us!
We all have negative thoughts in our head. Telling us not to try things. Telling us we’d look silly if we even attempted something new. That it would fail. That no-one would buy it. That we shouldn’t get too big for our boots.
I remember when I first started in business and I named my first business Heard Media because my brain was telling me that debbiedooodah was a ridiculous name and no-one would be interested.
I remember wanting to create a small online course years ago and I stopped, thinking that no-one would want to buy it from me. Every time I step out of my comfort zone I feel fear and my brain tells me to stop.
Now alongside my own brain telling me not to do things, I also had influences from other people, mostly businesses coaches, who bless them, offered me advice that was their way of doing things. They knew how success had worked for them and they wanted to same for me. But the thing is; every business is unique, and everybody is unique. And what has worked for one person might not be 100% what would work for someone else.
Which is why when I’m coaching people I really try to understand what it is that you want, how you want to run your business and what is important to you. What worked wonders for one person, might not work for you. You might hate that way of doing things!
But back onto our negative thoughts.
There are a number of different schools of thoughts on how to deal with negative thoughts, here’s what has worked for me.
1. Know that generally, your negative thoughts are there to keep you safe
1000’s of years ago our brains had to keep us safe from Lions and tigers and bears oh my! We’re hardwired to be cautious, there just might be something out there that could kill us.
But today there are fewer lions and tigers and bears. In fact, we’ve never lived in such peaceful times in Europe before, and although the news is full of scare stories, the majority of us just go about our lives in a peaceful fashion most of the time.
So when you want to try something new or a little bit risky, your brain wants to keep you safe. So it will invent all sorts of reasons why you can’t try or do something. Your brain likes the safe and familiar.
In this case, my advice is to let your brain know you’ve got this. Remind it of the times when you tried new things and it worked out well. And remind it of the times you tried things they didn’t work out well but you learnt something from it.
I’ve heard all sorts of advice around how we should be arguing with our brains that they aren’t right. But for me, that just causes inner conflict. I don’t want to essentially have an argument with myself.
If you can see your brain as a kindly old aunt who isn’t quite sure how things works anymore, likes to do things the old way and wants to keep you safe, you can reassure her that you’ve got this.
Focus on your strengths and remind you aunty brain that you’ve got the skills to see it through!
2. Ask yourself if what you are thinking is true
A lot of the time we make up all sorts of reasons why we can’t do something, or why we’re not good at something or why no-one would be interested in us.
Ask yourself gently if that is 100% true. If not, then is it false (in which case you can thank the thought for trying to protect you and move on) or do you just not know?
A lot of the time your brain will be throwing curve balls at you that are just made up, to keep you where you are and to stop you from dancing with the lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
3. Be at one with your negative thoughts
Just let yourself listen to your brain. Feel compassion with yourself and for your tired old aunty brain that has been trying to keep you safe for decades.
Meditate. Sit with those thoughts. Be kind to them. Think of all the wonderful things in your life, the people who love you, the sun that shines, the customers you have. Try and replace your fear thoughts with ones of love.
Feel gratitude for all the amazing things you have in your life. You’ve got legs? Amazing! Your head is still on your shoulders after all these years? Go you!
Now that’s got to feel better right?
4. Know when to ask for help
Know we do all have times in our lives when those thoughts can take over and fear becomes our go-to emotion. If you are struggling with this, then never be afraid to ask for help.
You only get one life, and if fear is getting in your way and you aren’t able to manage it on your own there are so many wonderful professionals out there who can support you.
Don’t go through life with metaphorical concrete blocks tied to your feet, life is far too short for that.
Replace your fear with love
Oh, isn’t this just the best on a morning! I’m looking out of the window and the sun is shining and I’m feeling love for you all!
I know that dealing with our own brains is tiring. I’ve spent months locked in a council flat feeling suicidal. I know that this can all sound a little flippant and easy. But you deserve to have a beautiful life, and for me just learning to love my old aunty brain has given me so much power to step into the Debbie I want to be. The council flat days are 20 years ago, so the journey for me has been long, but it has so been worth it x
And if you're into stepping into an uncomfortable space and telling your aunty you can do it, come and join me on Monday for a week of nailing you going live on social media! https://debbiedooodah.co.uk/fblivechallenge