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Ah, the brain. Our little inner best friend that’s always there for us, but is so deeply complicated that it can also be your biggest bully. Did you know that your brain processes somewhere between 60,000 and 80,000 thoughts per day? That’s an average of 2,500 to 3,300 thoughts per hour! Just let that sink in for a sec.

So, with all those thoughts flying around in that brain of yours, it’s only normal that some of those will be negative, right? Negative thoughts come in many shapes and forms, and sometimes, you have them so often, you might not realise you are being mean to yourself. Let’s dive a little deeper into the types of negative thinking and how we can flip these ways of thinking.

Number 1: All-or-nothing Thinking

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Now, we love ourselves a black-and-white thinker. They are straightforward, to the point and don’t have time for anyone’s BS. But, black-and-white thinkers sometimes fail to see something as a minor win or a minor fail. So, let’s take running a race for example. You might be coming 3rd in all of your practices, and on the big day, you come second. To others, it could be like WOW! You beat your personal best and get a medal, what an achievement. To a black-and-white thinker, they will just see them not coming first as a complete failure and will be really hard on themselves.

Here’s how to flip it:

Instead of just black or white, make yourself a grey area in between. This is where you can slot minor fails and minor wins. You don’t need to be hard on yourself for every decision and event that happens, so having a grey area leaves you with time to process what happened and being able to move on quickly.

Number 2: Mental Filter

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This is something that can change day to day or even hour to hour. One time, you could be a ray of sunshine. Other times, you could have a little black cloud following you and all you see is negative. This is totally okay and most of us feel this way sometimes.

Here’s how to flip it:

Start a gratitude journal. Every day, list three things you are grateful for, like the garlic bread you had for dinner, the fluffy socks that kept your toes warm or that you got a lift to town to see your friends instead of having to take the bus. The trick is never to list the same things twice. This means you have to seek out the good things every day, which means your mind is focused on positivity. On the days that are a little cloudy, this could be the ray of sunshine breaking through those clouds.

Number 3: Magnification or Minimisation

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Now, we all have had a slight feeling of imposter syndrome at some stage in our life. Basically, this is when you convince yourself that you’re not good enough or that you are a fraud. You tell yourself that you don’t deserve your achievements. When you feel like this, you tend to squash any of your achievements, and over-dramatise your failures. Again, this is totally normal and many people feel like this at one stage or another.

Here’s how to flip it:

When you get an A in your biology test, its because you worked really hard in class and studied your bum off. You deserved it! Own it. Just because your best friend mightn’t have done as well doesn’t mean you should hide your achievement. Each day, take a moment to appreciate your amazing self. The achievement might be small, but you still accomplished something, so be proud!

Now, as for magnifying those failures. Let’s jump to our go-to way of figuring out if something is worth stressing about. Will it matter in a year’s time? Will it matter in a month’s time? Will it even matter in a week’s time? So, the dog chewed the new pair of Nike AirForces that you bought with your first pay check. Okay, it’s not ideal, but chances are, you’ll be able to save up and buy another pair. This time next year, you’ll probably have bought 10 more pairs of shoes and totally forgotten about your AirForces. So the next time something happens, before you spiral and stress, think “will it matter down the road” first.

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Now, we are by no means experts, but these are just some ways we’ve figured out along the way that help us tackle our negative thinking. We hope they are of some help to you, and if you have your own methods, we’d love to hear them!

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