How To Reframe A Negative Mindset When You Feel Stuck, According To A Psychologist
Are you one of those people who exaggerates a bad day into an entire bad life? It's OK, we've all been guilty of it. But do this too many times, and it'll be hard to break out of this self-sabotaging habit. I know pessimism tends to come more easily than optimism, but who wants to walk around with negative vibes all the time? While it may seem like an impossible, uphill battle, there are ways to stop thinking negatively about everything in your life and reframe your whole mindset.
First, let's get into what “reframing” a mindset actually means. Your “frame” of mind simply refers to your perspective -- how you look at the world, and how you choose to process and handle day-to-day events and experiences.
According to Psychology Today, while your mindset is powerful enough to help you seek out positive opportunities in life, it can also corner you into a negative, self-defeating trap.
To think of this another way, your mental structure is built on personal beliefs regarding yourself, your roles, your conditions, and other people. You use this structure to give meaning to situations and circumstances you deal with in life.
In other words, the meaning you assign to any event is dependent on how you frame the event in your mind. So, if you find yourself plagued by a negative mindset, you'll inevitably perceive most things in your life to be working against you.
Elite Daily spoke with clinical psychologist Dr. Jodi DeLuca, who provides some tips on how to process seemingly negative situations for the better, and ultimately revamp those negative vibes that are getting you down.
1. Identify Your Trigger
Dr. DeLuca advises,
The key is to identify the triggers of your self-sabotaging thoughts, and to become aware of why you are thinking what you are thinking and to catch yourself doing so.
So, the moment you begin to think pessimistically, observe your behavior and really analyze the moments that led up to that thought pattern.
Literally ask yourself, “Why am I thinking like this? What happened before this that led me to this thought? Was the catalyst a person? An environment? An event?"
According to Dr. DeLuca, once your trigger is identified, “you have a better chance of catching yourself, turning negative self-statements into positive ones, and even preventing them.”
2. Log Your Negative Thought Patterns And Counteract Them
Now that you've identified the trigger for the thought, dissect the thought itself.
Self-sabotaging thoughts may be something like, “Everyone can do it but me,” or “I'm too old for that.” You have to know what yours are before you can begin to tackle them.
Dr. DeLuca recommends keeping an actual log of your negative self-statements. For every down-hearted statement you make, counteract it with an uplifting self-statement beside it.
Having these thought patterns down on paper will show you the type of problem-solving and coping skills that you already have, and the skills you still need to work on.
DeLuca tells Elite Daily,
Once you become aware of your self-sabotaging statements, you'll be better able to eliminate them from your thought repertoire. By doing so, not only are you adopting more encouraging and positive problem-solving skills, but that sense of self-deprecation and low-self-esteem that usually accompanies negative self-talk are diminished greatly.
3. Invest In Yourself
“Counseling is a great place to start,” Dr. DeLuca says. “Find an experienced licensed therapist to guide you through the process of changing your thought [patterns].
She specifically recommends cognitive behavioral therapy, which, she explains, is "a great way to help identify negative thought patterns and replace them with positive, self-encouraging and motivating thoughts.”
Keep in mind that reframing your mindset takes work. It's not fun to do, and you won't see the results of your hard work overnight.
It's a habit you have to build and work on over time, which means you have to do it over, and over, and over again.
But the more you do it, the closer you get to being the best version of yourself.