4 steps to help overcome negative thoughts

“I am a worthless piece of crap.”

“I am ugly and undesirable.”

“I am a burden to my loved ones.”

“I am better off dead.”

Thoughts like these always seem to be on the forefront of my mind. When dealing with mental illness, our minds can be a master manipulator, a liar, and a thief of any semblance of a normal life.

No matter what you may think, you are capable and you contribute positively to the lives around you.

There are a few things I do to combat spiraling negative thoughts:

  1. Recite positive affirmations: Our minds tend to dwell in the negative. By focusing on positive thoughts, we can lower stress and promote our self-identity. It’s important to use affirmations in the present tense, by using “I am” statements instead of “I will” or “I would have.” Some of my favorites include:
    • I am good enough.
    • I am doing my best and trying my hardest.
    • Today is a good day.
    • I am making the courageous choice to keep going.
  2. Focus on grounding techniques: My favorite grounding technique is to use the five senses. It distracts from negative thoughts and allows me to appreciate the things around me. If there’s nothing around that you can use for these, just imagine your favorite things for each sense.
    • 5 – look. Acknowledge five things around you that you can see.
    • 4 – touch. Notice the touch and feel of four items near you.
    • 3 – sound. Listen for three distinct noises you can hear.
    • 2 – scent. Recognize two things you can smell.
    • 1 – taste. Pay attention to one thing you can taste.
  3. Take time for deep breathing: This is my go-to when I’m not in my home. Inhale deeply while counting to five (mississippi-less-ly), then exhale fully for another five count.
  4. Ask your loved ones: Sometimes our self-esteem can be so low, we can’t think of anything positive to say. Then you can turn to your family or friends to give you compliments. It was a humbling experience the first time I did this, but the feedback I received was incredible and is still something I use for positive affirmations.

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Photo by Ed Leszczynskl on Unsplash


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