People tend to be their own worst critics, but when negativity constantly dominate thoughts it is time to take some action.
Here are what psychologists quoted in Psychology Today recommend:
“When you find yourself going down the path of self-criticism, gently note what is happening,” advises mediation specialist Allan Lokos.
Be curious and warn yourself that these are thoughts, not facts. During such moments, psychologist Thomas Boyce recommends immediately jot down as many positive things you know about yourself.
You can also accept the presence of negative thoughts but reject thoughts that involve comparing yourself to others. Social media can be a 24-hour menace to a person’s self-esteem. Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW, warns that it can generate gloomy self-talk that only “leads to still more anxiety and stress.” Serving others helps you focus on something other than your own issues, she says. Marriage and Family therapist David Simonsen agrees. “The more someone does something that can be proud of, the easier it is to recognize his or her worth,” he says. “It is tangible. Helping at a homeless or animal shelter, giving of time at a big brother or sister organization are things that provide value to oneself someone else as well.”
Recognize your strengths–and the reassurance they bring you in times of insecurity. Perhaps ask a close friend.
Debbie Mandel, the author of “Addicted to Stress,” suggests replacing one task per day from your to-do list to relax or do something fun. Also be sure to eat well and get enough sleep. Both can heighten the happier aspects of your self-perception.
Another good exercise is to examine your own feelings for others. Bitterness, anger and resentment tend to keep people in a cycle of negativity, says author Glenn Schiraldi.
Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter