I am a big believer in using positive affirmations to reprogram your negative thoughts. As I have learned from The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Bourne, here are a few pointers from the book to quickly explain what Negative Self-Talk is and how it works:
It is so automatic and subtle you don’t notice it or the effect it has on your moods and feelings.
It appears in telegraphic form- one short word or image (“Oh no!) contains a whole series of thoughts, memories, or associations.
Anxious self-talk is typically irrational but almost always sounds like the truth.
Negative self-talk perpetuates avoidance.
Self-talk can initiate or aggravate a panic attack.
Negative self-talk is a series of negative bad habits. (You have to reprogram your brain to say helpful uplifting confident talk to remove the negative thoughts)
There are different kinds of negative self-talk. The Worrier often promotes “what if…” thoughts and promotes anxiety. My biggest what if thought is always, “What if I get sick and throw up?” The other kinds of sub personalities are the Perfectionist (“I should, or I have to” thoughts) which promotes chronic stress and burnout, the victim (“I can’t. I’ll never be able to) promotes depression, and the Critic (“Can’t you ever get it right?”) which promotes low self esteem.
The important thing to do is be able to recognize when you are promoting this behavior and what you are telling yourself. Then you counter your negative self-talk with positive counterstatements that you believe in or want to try to believe in. The book goes into more detail about questioning your thoughts and working through them rationally to prove they aren’t true. It also helps you to create the positive counterstatements so that when you are in a situation where you are anxious and start to worry and promote the negative thoughts you can replace them and prevent your anxiety from going out of control, and giving yourself the confidence and respect you deserve.
When things get rough for me I tend to put positive affirmations or counterstatements up all over my house to remind me to hang in there and to reprogram my negative thoughts with positive ones. However, when things get better I throw them all away. The next time I need them, I find myself having to look them all up again online. This got me thinking of a more permanent solution so that I could have all of my favorite quotes and affirmations where I see them often and easily accessible.
I came up with the idea of making a flip book. This now sits on my nightstand where its the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning. The cover title is, “I Choose Peace”
“Focusing on a fear always makes it worse. I can change my focus to loving, supportive constructive ideas. I can’t make fearful thoughts go away. Struggling with them only makes them loom larger. Instead I can redirect my mind to more peaceful calming thoughts and circumstances. Every time I do this I am choosing Peace instead of Fear.The more I choose peace, the more it becomes a part of my life.With practice I get better at redirecting my mind. I learn how to spend less time focusing on fear. I grow stronger in my ability to choose wholesome, helpful thoughts over fearful ones. I make time to relax- to reconnect with that place deep within myself that is always at peace. When I make time to do this, I can choose to move away from fearful thoughts. I can allow my mind to expand into a wider place that is much larger than my fearful thoughts. When I relax or meditate my mind becomes deep enough to transcend fear. I’m learning to see that my fearful thought grossly overestimate risk or threat. The true risk I face in most situations is actually very small. I’m learning to recognize my tendency to exaggerate risk, to blow them out of proportion. Every fear involves both overestimating the threat of danger and underestimating my ability to cope. The important thing is not to feed fear. Not to dwell on it or give it energy…”
Here is an example of one of my favorite positive affirmations.
A lot of my anxiety stems from me worrying about worrying and how that will effect what others think of me. I have to remind myself that it doesn’t matter if people think I am weird because I get panic attacks. It only matters what I think of me and I have to remind myself that I love and respect myself the way I am even with my anxiety no matter what anyone else thinks.
This particular page has a little bit of symbolism on it. The handwriting and the crackled paper are to remind me that I don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. The number one in the corner is to remind me to put myself and my happiness first.
My overall plan is to have 4-5 sections in it, one for each negative self talk personality- (The Worrier, The Critic, The Perfectionist, and The Victim) and maybe one for general quotes. Then I will list the positive affirmations in each area that help address those types of negative self talk. Then when I am getting anxious I can flip right to the section I need and see all the warm fuzzy thoughts to help me feel better.
I made it a point to hand write (Ok trace) the words myself because it allows the affirmation to really sink in and it means more to me that I did it all instead of just printing it out from the computer.
This was REALLY easy to make for anyone interested in doing their own. If you are not a scrapbooker but like the concept you could buy a rolodex from Office Depot and fill in the notecards with your affirmations.
My supplies all came from my local Hobby Lobby or home and were:
2, 8X8 pieces of thick cardboard from the back of a sketchbook 1, 12X12 and 1, 8.5 X 11 piece of cream cardstock paper 1 8X8 piece of patterned scrapbook paper Tim Holtz grungeboard book (This will be for the different sections) I will use a thinner grungeboard paper for the individual affirmations so the book isn’t so thick. Photo splitz and a gluestick
I used the tutorial found here to make my blank flip book. It took me maybe an hour.
The stand looks like this from the side:
I’m really excited about this because I really need the access to these positive thoughts more than I am looking them up. As I make more pages I will share my positive affirmations with you so you can hopefully learn new ones and use them in your life to be the best you.