By Raigan Novotny
Have you ever felt like you need to reframe your thinking about yourself or your life? Maybe you have been surrounded by too much negative energy or negative thoughts and you want to release some of that energy? If you’re like me, you often may get lost in negative thoughts and need to spend some time refocusing your feelings.
As humans, we often forget that we dictate what is going through our minds, so if it isn’t a fun place to be, we’re the only ones who can change it. But, participating in self-care is a simple way to reframe negative thoughts into positive ones!
What is self-care?
To start off, self-care is defined by Everyday Health as “anything that you do to take care of yourself so you can stay physically, mentally, and emotionally well.” (1) Practicing self-care allows you to reflect on how you’re feeling, whether it’s mentally, physically, or emotionally.
Self-care is extremely important when it comes to your mindset. For me, participating in different self-care activities always allows me to take a step back and process how I’m feeling. This is especially helpful when I find myself being overwhelmed by the things happening in my life. Feeling overwhelmed by your feelings is something that happens to everyone, which is why it’s so important to take the time to understand what you’re feeling. Self-care is able to do this for us by giving us the time to reflect on how we’re feeling, which allows us to move forward.
So, I’m going to share some self-care practices that I use to relax and reframe my thinking. These 4 techniques are simple practices that can easily be added to your routine to change your thinking about yourself, your life, and those around you.
Journaling can be extremely helpful when it comes to reflecting on what has been happening in your life. Whether you’re journaling about how your day went, how you’re feeling, or anything else, it can help you to categorize your thoughts and feelings.
It’s human nature to push things off in life that should be prioritized, such as problems, fears, and concerns (2). I am someone who often pushes things off, and I find that journaling helps me to spend more time on any issues that have occurred. Keeping a journal is a good way to help you identify what type of things are stressing you out, so you’re able to understand and plan to resolve this stress (2). I find this extremely helpful when it comes to identifying negative thoughts that I’m having. And, not only does it identify these thoughts, but it gives me an outlet to freely express these thoughts. By letting these thoughts out, it creates space for you to replace them with positive thoughts (2). Along with replacing negative thoughts, journaling can also improve your mood overall (2).
When it comes to setting a time to journal, I usually enjoy doing it at the end of each day! This allows me to reflect on the day’s events while relaxing before bed. Taking this time for myself has allowed me to identify and organize my thoughts that I may not have had the chance to reflect on throughout the day. Overall, journaling is by far my favorite self-care technique because of its ability to boost my mood! When just getting started journaling, I suggest trying to do it once or twice a week just to get into the habit of things. Then, after a while, you can start increasing the amount based on your personal needs!
Another thing that helps me reframe my thinking is by using affirmations! According to Mind Tools, affirmations are “positive statements that can help you to challenge or overcome self-sabotaging or negative thoughts.” (3) Using affirmations allows for you to remind yourself of all of the positive things about yourself in order to start off (or end) the day recognizing the positives. Some examples of affirmations that I typically use are “I will not compare myself to others” and “I am enough.” Hearing these phrases over and over again helps me to reduce negative self-talk and thoughts, which leaves me with a positive and motivated mindset.
Something that I have found that helps when doing affirmations is putting sticky notes on a mirror that I use often. For example, I have a body mirror in my room that I use each day, so I stick any sticky notes with affirmations that I feel I need to hear. Then, when I go to use the mirror, I am able to repeat these affirmations either aloud or in my mind, which gives me a healthy mindset for the day ahead.
What affirmations you choose are based on what you feel your need is! There are many different types of affirmations that can be used, but you are the one who gets to decide which ones work best for you.
Similar to journaling, meditation can help to focus your thoughts and eliminate any thoughts that are causing you stress. Meditation revolves around focusing your energy on relaxing your body. By participating in meditation, you can improve your emotional health immensely, along with relieving any stress that you may be feeling (5).
Although there are many different types of meditation (with varying amounts of time commitments), it’s something that you can spend as much time on as you’d like. There is no set way to start meditating, but you may want to start with 5 minutes of meditation a day (4). I usually try to set aside 5 to 10 minutes in the morning to follow a guided meditation. This helps me to expand my thinking and relax, preparing myself for the day ahead.
Everyone is different when it comes to what type of meditation they enjoy most, so it’s important to consider how much time you’d like to spend and what you’d prefer to get out of it. Each type of meditation offers a variety of benefits, but all types are able to calm you down and focus your thoughts.
Reading is another form of self-care that can help you to open your mind to new ways of thinking. According to JRE Library, reading stimulates your brain by allowing you to ask questions, view different perspectives, identify patterns and make connections (6). This thought process that’s gained when reading can then be applied to your way of thinking.
When reading, I spend my time diving into self-help books or poem books. I find that these books help me to gain emotional knowledge that I may have never considered. More specifically, I feel that I learn new ways to process my own emotions based on how other people process theirs within the writing. This new perspective is something that I’m able to apply to my thought process, which gives me a healthier, more positive mindset when processing information and feelings.
Self-care helps you to take care of your mind, body, and emotions. Specifically, these 4 acts of self-care help you to reframe the way that you think, which can positively impact how you process your emotions. If done consistently, you should begin to see a change in the way that you’re viewing your life, yourself, and those around you. We’re always in our mind, so don’t forget to make it a nice place to be!
- Hochwald, L., Higuera, V., Califano, J., Gleason, T., Bostick, M., Rauf, D., Migala, J., Gleichmann, N., Cuthrell, S., Upham, B., Landau, M. D., & Lee, K. (n.d.). Everyday Health: Trusted Medical Information, expert Health Advice, news, tools, and resources: Everyday Health. EverydayHealth.com. Retrieved October 4, 2021, from https://www.everydayhealth.com/.
- Journaling for mental health. Journaling for Mental Health – Health Encyclopedia – University of Rochester Medical Center. (n.d.). Retrieved October 4, 2021, from https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentID=4552&ContentTypeID=1.
- Using affirmations: Harnessing positive thinking. Stress Management From MindTools.com. (n.d.). Retrieved October 4, 2021, from https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/affirmations.htm.
- What meditation can do for your mind, mood, and health. Harvard Health. (2014, July 16). Retrieved October 4, 2021, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/what-meditation-can-do-for-your-mind-mood-and-health-.
- Thorpe, M. (2020, October 27). 12 benefits of meditation. Healthline. Retrieved October 4, 2021, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-benefits-of-meditation#3.-Promotes-emotional-health.
- Benefits of reading: Why you should read more. JRE Library. (2017, December 11). Retrieved October 4, 2021, from https://jrelibrary.com/articles/benefits-of-reading-why-you-should-read-more/#:~:text=Reading%20enhances%20analytical%20thinking%20skills&text=Reading%20stimulates%20your%20brain%2C%20allowing,identify%20patterns%20and%20make%20connections.
- IMAGE: Rice, J. (2017). Photo by Jared Rice on unsplash. Beautiful Free Images & Pictures. https://unsplash.com/photos/NTyBbu66_SI.