Emotional Wellbeing



Mandy Kloppers

Stop Negative Thoughts to Promote Happiness


1) I’m missing out on something

This type of thinking occurs when we compare ourselves to others. We imagine that others have fantastic lives and are living out their dreams on a daily basis. Deliriously happy and fulfilling their every need and want, we can end up feeling that our lives don’t measure up. Our thoughts are often irrational when it comes to our beliefs about how others live their lives. We all have issues and troubles that arise. No one escapes this. What you need to focus on is your own inner happiness. If your attitude and approach to life and not healthy, life will never be happy. Love your life as it is and if you don’t like something, find a way to change it. Comparing your life to others is non-productive and won’t fix anything. Look within and find your own fun.

2) It’s not my fault

Playing the victim is easy as we can absolve ourselves of all blame. The problem with blaming others for our predicaments is that we need others to fix it for us. We give away our power and personal responsibility to shape life the way we want it. We therefore have to rely on the generosity of others to repair the damage. You might end up waiting a loooong time. Decide to take responsibility for where you are and find positive ways to move forward. You may feel that you are where you are due to the actions of others but it’s now time for you to take action for yourself and carve out a life that makes you feel content and fulfilled.

3) I hate myself

We can’t really escape from ourselves so it makes sense to make the most of what we’ve got. Wanting to improve is great but accept where you are for now. Fat, thin, wrinkly, sweaty..whatever it is – accept your flaws. Others will love you too when you love yourself..it really is infectious.

4) I’ll be happy when…I have more money/a loving partner/a bigger house/I’m thinner…

Stop putting life on hold until you HAVE something. You are wasting precious joy in life by thinking this way. Learn to enjoy life now and appreciate what you have. There will always be something you feel you need. Accept that you will continue striving but that you will be happy whilst you get there. We fool ourselves into believing that a certain set of life circumstances will create happiness. Unfortunately, research has shown that this isn’t the case. Decide to enjoy now, as is.

5) “What if” thoughts

Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but it won’t get you anywhere. Worry is also like praying, but for the things you don’t want.

Worry is mostly counterproductive. We mistakenly believe that if we worry we may somehow circumvent future difficulties. This is true to a degree but mostly, worrying does not often affect the outcome to a huge degree. make sure that worry is resolution focused. If you find that you are worrying and ending up back where you started, it’s time to distract yourself. If you are an incessant worrier, give yourself a half-hour to worry every day and after that try your best to distract yourself and keep busy. Worrying can become a dysfunctional ‘safety behaviour’, providing false comfort but also producing anxiety and depression in the long run.

6) Worrying about things you can’t control

It is fruitless to worry about things that you cannot control. You can write these worries off your list immediately. We can’t control the weather, the actions of others, traffic, unforeseen events. Accept that uncertainty is a part of life for all of us. Resisting creates anxiety and tension. Instead use affirmations such as “No matter what comes in my path, I will find a way to deal with it”. Use empowering self-affirmations to cope with uncertainty.

7) Expecting others to change

Trying to get others to fundamentally change will leave you frustrated and tense. Accept the basic characteristics of others and learned to work with their strengths and weaknesses instead of trying to sculpt them into your ideal image. Deal with what is, rather than what you fantasise about.

8) I should and I must

“Shoulds” and “musts” need to be taken out of your vocabulary. The minute we use these words, we invite guilt and self-induced pressure into our lives. Instead, use the words “could” and “might”. This hints at choice and life is about choice. When we feel we have choices we automatically feel happier. The more control we have in our lives the happier we tend to be.

Challenge your “shoulds” and “musts”. They may be old rules that you still live by. Update your rule book (or throw it out entirely if you feel extra brave) and make sure that you aren’t limiting yourself unnecessarily.

Watching our thinking is key to increasing the quality of our lives and to stop negative thoughts. What we believe and focus on grows so make sure you focus on what you DO want rather than what you don’t want.

Mandy X

Worry (Photo credit: StormKatt)
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