Anxiety and negative self-talk are two things that all of us experience.
There is no way to avoid them. They are simply part of being human.
However, it’s extremely important to manage how you deal with these things on a daily basis. Otherwise, they’ll cripple your self-confidence and destroy your ability to stay focused.
In this article, you’ll learn 5 simple strategies to overcome anxiety and negative self-talk. These are tools that are actually meant to be used. Try each of them out and see which works best for you.
#1: Shock Your System
A little bit of stress can quickly spiral out of control and turn into crippling negative self-talk.
When this happens, it’s normal to feel completely paralyzed. It can seem like there’s nothing you can do to “get out of your head”. Your thoughts just keep getting more and more depressing.
Consider this: there’s no way to “think” yourself out of these bad mindsets. In fact, thinking will only feed the anxiety and make you feel worse.
Instead you have to find a way to stop thinking. You have to find a way to FORCE yourself out of the bad mindset. An effective way to accomplish this is to “shock your system” by hopping into a cold shower for 1-2 minutes.
When you step into a cold shower, your survival instincts take over and you’re forced to drop all the BS that’s going through your head. Your body is overcome with sensation, you start breathing deeply, and you immediately feel rejuvenated.
In fact, studies prove that cold showers are an effective treatment for depression. You see, exposure to cold activates your sympathetic nervous system, releases key neurotransmitters, and sends an overwhelming amount of “shockwaves” through the cold receptors of your nerve endings. In other words, it sends a jolt of energy through your body and immediately changes how you’re feeling.
#2: Audit Your Anxiety
Fact: All of your anxiety is caused by SOMETHING.
If you take a minute to reflect, it’s not hard to determine the source of your negative thoughts. To help you complete this task, I have two questions for you…
#1: Are there any specific habits you indulge primarily when you’re anxious?
Take a minute and think about it now.
Realize that these are simple coping mechanisms that feed your anxiety and make it worse. When you indulge in any of these habits, you prevent yourself from facing the anxiety head-on and letting it go.
Next time you catch yourself doing one of your anxious habits, realize that you’re doing it, and then stop. Instead, try one of the other strategies listed on this page.
#2: Are there specific substances you normally consume before becoming anxious?
For example, some people get paranoid after they smoke weed. For me, sometimes my mind starts to race after I have caffeine. Also, I know people who start to get very negative and depressed when they drink alcohol.
All of these substances are drugs. They change how you feel. If one of these substances is making you feel bad, then you need to be honest with yourself and stop consuming it.
#3: Catch and Release
You have thousands – if not millions – of thoughts going through your head every single day. Most of these are simple passing observations and reflections. They come and go…
But sometimes you get “stuck” on something – a little thought enters your head and, before you know it, you’re knee-deep in negative self-talk. Maybe you see something that reminds you of your ex-girlfriend. Before you know it, you’re lying on the floor in self-pity, wishing you could have her back.
Or maybe you’re self-conscious about your height and you walk by a tall, good-looking guy. Now, all of a sudden, you can’t stop imagining how much “better” life would be if you were just 2 inches taller.
The unfortunate truth is that it’s impossible to avoid negative thoughts like these. The good news is that you can train yourself to let go of them when they arise.
It’s a simple process really:
- Catch yourself engaging in negative self-talk
- Acknowledge that you’re doing it
- Don’t beat yourself up, just tell yourself: “These thoughts are not productive”
- Now, shift your focus to something else (your breath, your footsteps, the wind on your face, the project you’re working on, etc)
I’ll be honest: this is a lot easier said than done. But, if you continue to “watch” your thoughts, and let them go when they get negative or self-destructive, it will eventually become an automatic process.
#4: Move Your Body
When you get anxious, what symptoms do you normally experience?
If you’re like most people, your chest gets tight and you start to breathe very quickly. Also, you start having obsessive thoughts. Maybe your mind is racing, or maybe you’re focused on a particular bad situation in your life.
If you continue to focus on these thoughts, the anxiety will only get worse.
Instead, you must “get into” your body. Why? Because it’s the only way to “get out” of your head. You will never be able to “think” yourself out of a bad mood. It simply doesn’t work.
But, if you start to focus on how your body feels, you will naturally let go of the negative thoughts. And you will immediately feel 100X better.
The easiest way to do this is to exercise. Go lift some weights. Feel your muscles contracting. Or go for a run or bike ride. Feel your lungs filling with air. And, if you can’t bring yourself to exercise, at least go for a quick walk around the block. Feel your feet hitting the ground, one step at a time. And feel the fresh air on your face.
Before you know it, your negative thoughts will be gone and you’ll be in a calm, meditative state of mind.
#5: Meditate Every Morning
The final strategy I want to offer you is daily meditation.
Yes, I’m sure you’ve already been told to meditate at least 1000 times. But let’s talk about why it will help you overcome anxiety and negative self-talk.
You see, when you meditate, you generally focus on your breathing. You focus on the sensations of inhalation and exhalation. And, whenever you catch your mind wandering or thinking about something else, you simply return your focus to your breathing.
Essentially, what you’re doing here is TRAINING your mind to let go of unproductive thoughts during the rest of your day!
After several months of meditation, it will become quite easy to let go of negative self-talk whenever it comes up… Because you have been PRACTICING to do this every time you meditate.
Stop thinking of meditation as a magic pill and start thinking of it as PRACTICE for letting go of anxious mindsets and negative self-talk. This is the true value of meditation – and its usefulness cannot be ignored.
If you’re looking for an easy way to start meditating, I recommend downloading the Headspace app on your smartphone. It offers simple, guided meditations you can listen to every morning.
How to Deal with Anxiety & Negative Self-Talk
Anxiety is an unavoidable part of life.
If you want to be more confident and happy on a day-to-day basis, you need to learn how to let go of anxiety whenever it arises.
To recap this article, here are 5 simple ways you can accomplish this:
- Shock your body and change your mindset by taking a quick cold shower
- Recognize what habits cause you to get anxious, and “catch” yourself doing them
- “Catch” yourself engaging in negative self-talk, then shift your focus to something else
- When you’re anxious, move your body (work out or go for a walk) to get out of your head
- Meditate once per day to train your mind to let go of negative thoughts when they arise
These tools are meant to help you get out of your head and get back to living life. Try each of them and see what works best for you.
But remember, the most important thing is simply to be aware and realize when you’re having negative thoughts. If you can consistently do this, you’re well on your way to overcoming your anxiety and building supreme self-confidence.