Are Negative Thoughts Controlling You?

Many of us struggle with negative thoughts, and believe me, I know how much of an effect it can have on you. The good news is that once you are aware of the negative thoughts, you can change them in order to have more positive thoughts and positive effects on your behavior.

Start an Affirmation Practice

What’s an affirmation practice? Exactly how it sounds, the practice of affirming yourself. Start my making a list of 5-10 positive characteristics about yourself. Try not to pick physical characteristics or anything related to roles you play (mother, sister, brother, husband, employee). It’s important to pick positive, true, and present tense statements about yourself. It also helps to pick statements that you know are true, or that you can easily believe. For some people, their self -esteem might be so low that they have a hard time believing some things about themselves. If that’s the case, start with what you do believe. Some examples of affirmations are:

“I am worthy”

“I am good enough just the way I am”

“I’m loveable”

“I have skills I can use in my recovery”

“I am capable”

Once you have a list of affirmations, pick one you want to focus on each day. Here comes the hard part, practice saying the affirmation out loud to yourself, looking at yourself in the mirror. I know this might sound crazy, but it does work. It helps to say the affirmation over and over to yourself, 10-15 times in the morning, and again in the evening. The more, the better.

Practice Positive Self-talk

This one is a little harder then the affirmation practice, because it is less structured and requires that you have an awareness of your self talk. Start by just noticing throughout the day what you are saying to yourself. If you notice hostile, and degrading self talk, then it’s time to change things up. When you do notice negative self talk, try jotting it down in a journal and coming up with a more positive statement. For example, if the negative thought is, “I’m so stupid, I make mistakes all the time”, try replacing it with something like “It’s okay to make mistakes, no one is perfect.” Once you do this often enough, the brain will start to remember this way of thinking and it will become more automatic.

These are just a few ways that you can change negative thinking. At Silver Lining Counseling, Kristin Dickie works with all of her patients on identifying and changing any self defeating and negative thinking. Kristin is currently accepting new patients and can be reached on her cell phone at 704-237-7037 or email at I look forward to connecting with you!