Q: My husband says that I am negative and worry too much. I think he may be right at times, what can I do?

A: There are many things you can do, but probably the most common technique is by monitoring the way you talk to yourself. The stream of daily thoughts you have about life and yourself are often referred to in popular psychology as "Self Talk". A recent study showed that the average person has over 300 negative thoughts a day. Thoughts such as, I'm ugly, or not smart enough, or fast enough, or this job is terrible. Problems occur as these negative thought trigger the anxiety response in your body, just the same as if someone else actually said them to you. Interestingly, if someone else said them, we would be more likely to challenge them and evaluate them for validity. However, when self generated you are much more likely to allow such negative thoughts to just come through our mind unchallenged even though they are often less valid.

The best way to combat these thoughts is to get a small Spiral Notebook you can carry with you and list every negative self-talk thought you experience for a whole week, you can make tic marks behind the though to represent multiple occurrences. These are your negative self-talk thoughts. Then sit down with your very best friend and have them help you develop alternative replacement statements that are equally valid. If your too embarrassed to do this with a friend, then just imagine what your friend would say if you were sitting with her and someone said that negative comment to you. Then throughout the day, attempt to recognize the negative thoughts and when you do, use them as a signal to replace the thoughts with the positive alternatives. If during the day you meet a new negative self-talk, and can't think of a positive alternative just imagine what your best friend would say if you said the thought out loud. Changing these thoughts will not only help your outlook on life, but your feelings of stress, depression, anxiety and unhappiness will decrease also.

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