Stuck In A Rut? How To Tackle The Negative Thinking Cycle.

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Have you ever reflected on a moment in time or a particular period of your life and questioned the purpose of it?  The “I have no idea what I’m doing or where I’m going” moments. Or perhaps you find yourself in a mindset that you feel you can’t shift and have very little control over.

I’ve previously written about why it is ok to not have your life together or know where it is heading 100% of the time (even when everyone around you does). However, in the most severe times of uncertainty the “it will all be ok in the end” advice, doesn’t always ease the mentally taxing effects of not knowing how it is all going to pan out.

When you are not entirely sure where your life is heading, it can leave you feeling caught up in a fairly negative rut. The lack of direction in your life, can lead to a lack of motivation. The waiting for your big breaks, are made even more difficult when your best friend or colleague gets theirs and watching your peers buy their first home or get engaged, can hammer home how together their life is in comparison to your own.  These events alone are discouraging at the best of times but the broadcasting nature of social media, can makes it even more difficult to escape from.

So if you’re feeling caught up in the cycle of uncertainty or find yourself in a bit of a negativity rut , here are some ways to get that head out of the sand and into the sun.

1.Practise Positive Affirmations

Something as simple as telling yourself each day something you can do or like about yourself as opposed to things you don’t, can make a huge difference when it comes to breaking out of a negative mindset.

 “Affirmations are positive, specific statements that help you to overcome self-sabotaging, negative thoughts. They help you visualize, and believe in, what you’re affirming to yourself, helping you to make positive changes to your life and career.”

What we tell ourselves we can do (or can’t do), has a huge impact on what we will go on to eventually do. As you’ve probably gathered from anything I have ever written, I believe your mindset affects everything from your motivation to start something, to the end result and essentially provides the underlying foundations for everything you do. Similarly, how you talk to yourself internally, very much determines both the relationship you have with yourself and the person you are externally.

It is a too common belief, that our mindsets are fixed. However a negative mindset can be learnt and become habitual just like any other unhealthy habit (like drinking or smoking) and like smoking isn’t good for your body, negative self talk is just as damaging to your mind.

2. Acknowledging Negative Thoughts 

If you are stuck in a negative rut or you’re not happy with where you are in life right now, waging a war with your own thoughts isn’t going to make it any better.  What I mean by this is, try to counteract the negative thoughts instead of encouraging them. Acknowledge the feelings of being stuck, low or unhappy and don’t carry on engaging in behaviours that simply perpetuate the cycle. For example,  If you are unhappy about your weight and know that comfort eating makes you feel worse, avoid these behaviours, as these will only keep you caught up in a pattern you are trying to break.

3. Take Control Over Your Social Media (and unfollow).

Social media is used for a lot of beneficial purposes. It can be a place to post, share memories and beautifully captured photos and videos but also has the ability create a huge wave of lifestyle comparisons. I will admit that I do enjoy scrolling through Instagram, seeing what my friends are wearing or the amazing places they are travelling too. I also follow a lot of accounts that for me are inspiring and their way of thinking/living really resonate on a similar scale to my own. For these reasons I would never permanently delete social media (but perhaps limit my time spent on it).

However other accounts can leave me feeling a little deflated about myself or maybe their values and moral just do not echo mine.  We have very little control over what other people post online and I do believe everyone should have a certain level of freedom when it comes to their social media. However, what makes someone else inspired , happy or self satisfied may not necessarily do the same for you. It’s your responsibility to control who you let influence you and allow yourself to follow. In a time when you’re not feeling particularly content with your own life, the last thing you need to be following are accounts that make you feel even worse.

4. Or Better Yet Switch It Off  

Take sometime offline, explore other ways you could fill your time (try reading, writing, painting, exercise).  I can tell you it is hard to switch it off for a while because like it or not social media is addictive. However taking some detox time from your online persona’s can actually improve productivity, focus and even your mood.

“Sometimes it’s about creating a life that feels good on the inside, as opposed to concentrating on one that looks good on the outside.”

5. Take Small Steps (but do them daily) 

I spend 10 minutes each day listening to motivational speeches, why? Because somedays I also can wake up and see little point or feel directionless. I am a firm believe that the things you read and listen to now, will determine who you are in 5 years time. Dedicate 10 minutes each day to some form of ‘healthy’ habit’ i.e something your future self will thank you for.  This could be meditation, stretching, writing, reading up on recipes or doing a couple of squats (your future bum will thank you).  It really is the small things that will make the most change.

“Your future depends on what you do today”- Ghandi

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One of my favourite quotes to live by is “this too shall pass” because if we can comprehend that even the good times have to end, then we should also find comfort in knowing the difficult and uncertain periods will end too.

Laura

xoxo

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