“These jeans make me look fat!” “I have all these rolls around my stomach and I can’t stand it.” “Ugh-nothing looks good on me!” Sound familiar? Have you uttered these words to yourself once or twice or maybe a few hundred times? We either have positive or negative thoughts about ourselves, and I am here to share with you why what you say when you talk to yourself can literally change your life.
The negative conditioning we develop begins at an early age and progresses through our teens and twenties. Think about it-the average toddler hears “no” ten times more often than they hear “yes.” Fast forward to the teenage years and it now is more peer-driven. We all remember that one classmate who always said the meanest things, but part of us believed it. Call it a trait of awkward adolescence, but those unkind words took root somewhere deep within our psyche.
On the other side of the coin, we now join in on the banter. With friends, we say, “Oh, I look so fat in this outfit,” and even as our friends try to reassure us otherwise, we don’t believe them. There may be a few of us who have escaped this crazy thinking, but most of us can relate. This can easily go into our twenties and beyond and will affect every single area of our life. From our careers, friendships, relationships with food and even our sexual experiences, the way we view ourselves shapes our whole world. Ever have a friend who says she will only be naked in low lighting out of embarrassment? This is precisely why.
Your thoughts trigger your feelings and your feelings drive your actions. Have you ever woke up on the wrong side of the bed and anticipated the entire day was going to go that same way? And I bet you were right on the money. Or have you ever thought something good was going to happen to you such as landing a job, and you did? It’s truly fascinating.
Earl Nightingale once said, “We become what we think about most of the time.” I absolutely agree with this. When I’ve thought to myself that I was never going to lose the weight or get into a regular fitness routine, I didn’t. Imagine that. That’s all I thought about-worrying constantly that I would eat too much or skip out on a workout. Bingo! I was right on the money.
Once I learned how to reprogram my mind and train it to think positively, my life changed completely. Here are some strategies that worked for me:
- Become aware of your thoughts. Try to pay more attention to what you’re thinking about and determine if it’s positive or negative. How to know? Notice how you’re feeling-this is your temperature gauge. If you’re not feeling good or great, try to focus on something positive and shift your mood. Sing, play music, walk in nature or call a friend-do something!
- Learn affirmations. Affirmations are just positive statements in the present tense about yourself such as “I am confident” or “I feel good in my own skin.” (For more on this, check out my friend Renee’s website: Love Yourself Naked). Look online for ideas and pick a few that you like. Write them down on sticky notes and put them in places where you will see them often such as in the bathroom, in your car or on your desk at work. Say the words in your mind and you will be changing your programming on the subconscious level-how cool is that?
- Visualizations. Visualizations can be done by writing them down or just listening to someone guiding you (here’s one of my favorites). Basically you picture what you want to see change in your life as if it already has. When you’re visualizing, the goal is to feel as if it is real and actually happening. Your mind begins to believe it is real. I do this all the time and it is the #1 reason why my life is the way it is right now.
Follow these simple tips to get started and should begin to notice a difference immediately. In the beginning, I would suggest keeping a journal with you or a notepad and just jotting down your thoughts as they naturally occur. Don’t be discouraged if most of your thoughts are negative at first-that’s completely normal. Just work each day to do a little bit better than the day before, and you’ll see big changes pretty quickly. Let me know how it works for you!
*The information on this site is designed for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Thank you!
~by Kimberly Olson