We all go through times when we are a little too hard on ourselves—mean, judgmental and abrasive. We put ourselves down; we fall into our internal vortex of self-doubt.
But there are ways to thwart the progression of negativity. Just take a few deep breaths, and try these 7 techniques for overcoming self-doubt and self-deprecation that will help you to emerge even stronger.
Overcome every bad thought with a positive one. “Aw, I just suck at this. I am never going to get it right!” It can be so easy to be mean to yourself. But, if you wouldn’t let someone say it to your best friend, you shouldn’t say it to yourself. There’s nothing wrong with a little self-praise. You deserve it—no matter how much you doubt that. If you catch yourself flopping around in the net of negativity, do your best to balance each negative thought with a positive one. “At least I’ve improved a little bit.” Even if it’s not self-directed, a little positivity goes a long way: “Well, at least this avocado is ripe!” Focus on positive affirmations, and it will be easier to swim out of the self-deprecating tides.
Go somewhere inspiring. Take a short trip to your favorite place. It could be the local bookstore, beneath your favorite tree in the park, a coffee shop where everybody knows your name, the local bike shop or wherever you like to hang out and feel welcome. A change of scenery could brighten your spirits.
Disconnect from social media. In fact, if you’re in the doldrums, turn off the technology. The internet can make you feel worse, since you’ll inevitably start comparing your life to the social-media-perfect lives of those you follow. But, guess what… no one has a picture perfect life. Social media is an illusion. Latching onto it when you’re feeling down on yourself can be toxic.
If you are a huge social media fan, try to follow only those who send out positive affirmations and good energy, rather than those who share only self-indulgent snapshots of staged moments. If you suffer from body image issues, stop obsessing over fitspo Instagrams and focus on living and enjoying your life… now! The the same goes for the scale—lock it away! You are worth more than a number!
Surround yourself with good people. Seek out the people that lift you up. Even if all you want to do is curl up in a dark corner and stew for the entire weekend, force yourself to talk to a good friend. Whether you meet at a cafe or just have a phone chat, opening up to that external influence of a loved one is sometimes all you need to rescue you from the depths of your own suffocating negativity.
Get outside. On that note, if you have no friends or family you can immediately reach out to, simply get your butt outside. The sun and fresh air can reset your brain and help you to view things with a clearer outlook. Getting your heart rate up with a little exercise can also be incredibly beneficial for getting out of your own head and into the present moment.
Treat yourself gently. Stop berating yourself for feeling blue. Treat yourself as you would your best friend or a child. Pushing yourself further down isn’t going to help anything. Instead, pamper yourself just a little bit. Take a hot bath, make time for a yoga class or massage, or take the time to cook a comforting, healthy meal. You truly deserve it. Being harsh to yourself isn’t going to make you feel any better. Simply allow yourself to be who you are in that moment.
Do a little writing. It’s important to let your thoughts out. A good way of accomplishing this is through art, like writing or drawing. By writing your emotions out in the moment, you are releasing a lot of that pent-up negative energy. It also allows you to go back and read the words later and think, “Wow, this is so far off!” Putting your feelings in writing allows you to realize just how absurd some of your self-imposed standards are—it puts everything back into perspective. Plus, a piece of paper is as non-judgmental as it gets, so you can really let it all out.
We all get down sometimes. We berate ourselves harshly, become upset at ourselves for being inadequate and feel betrayed by the lack of perfection in our beautifully imperfect lives. Don’t let these moments rule you. You can overcome them by focusing on all that is good, and emerge stronger for it.