I went out to dinner with a couple of friends last night, and as we were chatting one of my friends made a comment that she needs to change the chatter in her head. She needs to stop putting herself down and telling herself that she is stupid and ugly. I immediately complimented her. She is a smart and attractive woman. She thinks this way because she is single. Now, is there any truth to what she is saying? I know plenty of smart and attractive single people. As a Therapist, it amazes me how many people tell themselves horrible things about themselves. People are often harder on themselves than they are on others. So, where does this all come from? It can come from conditioning that happened in the early years of our life. It can also come from comparing ourselves to others and believing we are never good enough. Here are three simple tips to change what you say to yourself:
- Stop trying to predict the future. Nobody can predict the future. People spend a lot of time trying to predict the future and they always expect the worst. If you are going to try to predict the future, then at least have a positive outcome. For example, if you have an important presentation predict it will go well because you spent a lot of time preparing for it.
- Stop focusing on the negative. This is also known as catastrophizing. It’s easy to get caught up in the negative. This will lead to thinking it’s never enough and bring you down. Take time to look at the positive in life. Focus on what you have rather than what you don’t have.
- Finish each day by stating what you liked about the day. This can be as simple as a stranger in the cafe smiling at you. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Take time to be grateful for the simple things in life. Try saying that you life yourself at the end of the day.
In the 1960’s Albert Ellis pioneered a form of psychotherapy that combined ways of detecting and changing irrational thoughts. This is called rational emotive behaviour therapy (REBT). It proved to be especially helpful in relieving problems like anger, anxiety and depression. The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Depression is a great tool to help you overcome depression in your life. The book is based from the research of Albert Ellis. You can buy it and work through it on your own. You can also work on it with a therapist. For more help, please call me for a consultation at (650) 892-0357.