It should come as no surprise that your emotional health has a major impact on your mental health. It is much like how your nutritional health will affect the health of your body. There is one aspect of your emotional health that most people ignore and that is how your thoughts impact your mental health.
5 Thoughts that Affect your Mental Health
In my mental health story, How My Mind Became my Enemy, I shared how my thoughts seemingly took over and created chaos in my life. But how can your thoughts impact your mental health? Let’s take a look at 5 ways this happens.
1. Negative Self Talk
This is probably the most common one and we are all guilty of it. Negative self talk only becomes a real problem to your mental health when it becomes habitual. If you notice that you only say things that are negative about yourself, it is time to focus on some positives too!
Turning this around is not easy, especially if it has been a habit for a long time. The way I stopped doing this was by countering every negative with a positive. I am not talking about earth shattering, record breaking things. If you tell yourself that your nose is ugly, then remind yourself how pretty your smile is.
If you only focus on the negative things about yourself, you will never be able to see the good things. Nothing is all good or all bad so start finding the positives!
2. Focusing on the Negative
Let’s face it…life sucks sometimes. It is that way for everyone and nothing will ever change that. But the problem comes when you are so drenched in the negative events that you can’t enjoy the good ones.
For example, when I was 5 years old my father abandoned my family. I held on to this negative well into my adulthood. This made me feel unworthy and unlovable and I spent my teens and twenties in deep depression over this negative thing that happened in my life. I missed so many amazing things that could have brought me joy but instead, I made a choice to drown in the negative.
Correcting this doesn’t come easy, in fact, it is downright hard. Start by forcing, yes, forcing yourself to focus on the positive things. As time goes by, it will become less forced and more second nature.
3. Dwelling on the Past
As I said in #2, I wasted a lot of years dwelling on events of my past. Holding onto the pain of these things nearly destroyed me. If you find that you are thinking too much about the past, it is time to start enjoying the present.
The entire time you are focused on pain of the past, there is a great big, beautiful life going on without you. That pain is real but do not allow it to define who you are and what your future will be. Grab today with both hands and look toward the future.
4. Comparing Yourself to Others
When I was growing up, I was so jealous of one of my cousins. This person had the looks, clothes, talents and popularity that I wanted desperately. I diminished who I was by focusing on all of the things that I wasn’t. I was in my late twenties when I realized what my talents really were because I wasted so much time trying to be something I wasn’t.
Thinking that everyone else has a better life than you can lead to depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. Just because your life is different or your talents are different doesn’t mean that they are any less than someone else.
It may seem cliche’ but just be yourself. We all have our individual parts to play in this world and they are all important.
5. Playing the “What if” Game
This “game” is so destructive because it increases anxiety. Eventually, thinking about all of the “what-ifs” can paralyze you with fear and make it nearly impossible to make decisions. These thoughts can grow to the point of making life full of negative distortions.
No matter what you do in life, there are possible positive and negative outcomes. Dwelling on the possible negative outcome will only make life seem overwhelming and out of control.
Guard Your Thoughts
There are many other types of negative thoughts that can impact your mental health but these are the ones that I have experience with. I, along with most other people, handle negative thoughts on a daily basis. It may “seem” like I am different but in reality, everyone deals with these types of thoughts.
The most important thing you can realize is that you are incontrol of your thoughts. You can turn negative thoughts into positive ones. It is possible so it is time to take back your control!
- How my Mind Became my Enemy – Part 1
- How my Mind Became my Enemy – Part 2
- How my Mind Became my Enemy – Part 3
- How my Mind Became my Enemy – Part 4
- My Mental Health Story