“A practical step to becoming aware of your self-destructive thoughts and how to change them.

I was depressed, suffering from anxiety, still in my cooperate job with no meaning while my marriage was falling apart. I wanted to change everything about my life. Instead of feeling constantly sad, I just wanted to feel happy again. I tried to change my thoughts by being more positive, but it didn’t work. The thoughts were too messed up in my head so I couldn’t organise them. 

So I started writing down my thoughts in a journal.

I was advised to write down my thoughts, to identify the most repetitive negative beliefs I had. So I started writing down my thoughts in a journal. When I first heard the idea of writing down my thoughts, I had some resistance. I wasn’t sure how it would help me, but then I thought I’d give it a try. 

In a podcast, they mentioned that journalling had the same kind of therapeutic effect as going to therapy. The most important thing is to get the thoughts out of your head. At first, I found it challenging to remember to write down my thoughts at the start. I had a notebook but also started writing them on my phone when I wasn’t home. 

After a while, I focused on the ones that triggered me the most. After a week, I analyzed them and noticed that I had very destructive thoughts. Imagine if the voice in your head was your best friend telling you all these things like “you are not good enough”, “you will never find love again”, “you can’t survive if you quit your job” and “you are too old to travel the world”. You would probably end the friendship. 

So I realized we are our biggest critics.

When you are depressed, your thoughts repeat themselves repeatedly, and you feel like you’re in a hamster wheel. It was impossible to organize them in my mind or get any clarity, nor to make any decisions. When I wrote them down, I had them in a structure on paper to look at them. And ask me myself, are they true?

I put them in order and looked at which ones were the most recurring. I identified the top three with the most negative impact on my life.  Then I asked myself what I would want to believe instead and wrote that down. Instead of” I can not get out of this situation”. I changed it to “I can create the life I want”. After I’d ask myself if there were any examples in my past that would prove my new belief is true or at least possible. 

For example getting my university degree, finishing my yoga teacher training or moving to London. All examples of things in my life I had achieved because I wanted them. By doing that, I started to feel more hope for the future. 

Depression is related to the past, and anxiety is associated with the future. So I feared the future, and by changing my negative beliefs, I believed more in a compelling future. It was still challenging as the ego doesn’t want us to be happy, but it wants us to survive. When you are trying to be happier, the ego is trying to fight back. So you have to have the willpower to change. 

What can you do?

  1. Write down the thoughts which trigger you the most in a journal for a week. 
  2. Identify the three most limiting beliefs. 
  3. Create new positive beliefs & Find a minimum of three examples from your life for each new belief. We usually find proof for our negative beliefs over the time course of our lives. So to change a belief, you have to find evidence of why the new belief is true and try to think that more often to override the old belief. 
  4. Write down positive affirmations to constantly remind you of the new beliefs. Hang them somewhere where you can see them every day. Maybe make them your phone Background. 

If you have any questions about this and how you can use it for yourself book a free Happiness Talk Session with me here.

1 thought on ““A practical step to becoming aware of your self-destructive thoughts and how to change them.”

  1. Kapil Goyal

    Osho once said – “write your self talk in a diary for 7 days and see the magic…”

    (not exact words – but somewhat similar)

    Great post Nadine.

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