Do you ever have them? Those nasty thoughts in your mind: ‘I’m not going to succeed, I can’t do it, I’m stupid, ugly, weird, etc.’. These thoughts can be very annoying. They stick in your brain and it feels like they are there constantly, and they refuse to leave. Did you know that of the 40,000 thoughts you have in a day, 70% are negative thoughts?
Time to do something about it!
Many children, who work with me on their challenges, suffer a lot from these non-helping, negative thoughts. They cannot concentrate at school, miss out on great opportunities, show signs of depression, have a bad relationship with their friends and / or family, do not dare to present themselves, etc.
How come children and we, as adults, have such negative, non-helping thoughts? In the early days of mankind, having negative thoughts was for a specific reason. One had to survive and so with every berry, plant, animal you had to think: ‘I can get sick or die from this berry, plant, animal.” These negative and fearful thoughts made you protect yourself.
Our mind still works this way; we still want to protect ourselves against danger, which makes sense. However, life and its challenges have changed since then and the brain is warning us also for situations which are not dangerous. That means that negative thoughts can also arise in situations where they stop us from doing fun things, accepting challenges and embracing joy. Listening to these thoughts can result in emotional pain and you will feel sadness, disappointment, worry etc. The result is that you don’t move forward, you no longer learn, you are afraid etc.
Let’s look closer now to our non-helping thoughts. Draw four columns on an A4 paper. In the first column, you write down your non-helping thoughts. In the second column, you look for evidence which proves that this thought is true. In the third column, you look for evidence that makes this thought incorrect. In the fourth column, you look for a thought that will help you to think more positive and gentler and which will support you in your challenge.
What is your thought?
Evidence that supports this thought
Evidence that does not support this thought
What would be a more balanced thought?
Nobody likes me.
I stood on the playground and none of my friends asked me to play.
I have playdates after school.
I am good in making my own game OR I will find someone else to play with.
I will not study this subject, because I always get a bad grade.
Last time I studied, I had a bad grade.
I am quite okay in my other subjects
I could ask for help OR I can’t be perfect in everything.
By zooming in and examining your thoughts, you give yourself the opportunity to think more balanced. By having positive, helping thoughts, you give yourself some space to be you. This can help you to take on a challenge or to deal with a situation positively. So, be your own detective and trace them, those non-helping thoughts and go collect evidence to see if they are really correct. Let me know what you have researched!
Summary: Not everything you think is true. Your brain is constantly trying to warn you for all kinds of danger; danger which is not there at all. As a result, you miss out on great experiences and opportunities or you are too harsh for yourself. Go and examine your thoughts and see if they are really true and then try to search for thoughts that support you when you take on a challenge.