Positive self-talk doesn’t just happen. It requires taking a step back and realising that the conversations you have with yourself are negative. You also need to start thinking in a more balanced way. Just don’t be too hard on yourself. “Reframing how you talk isn’t easy and takes practice,” says Mark Heyman, Ph.D., CDE, a psychologist. If negative chatter slips back in, that’s normal. To help identify destructive thoughts, work with a mental health professional to help you develop the adequate skills and learn the signs of sadness, hopelessness, or fear, as they are the clear signals of the presence of negative thoughts.
FACT-CHECK THE NEGATIVITY
One solution to cultivate positivity? “Test your thoughts with facts,” Heyman says. When you have a negative thought, act as a judge. Ask yourself: What evidence do I have that this thought is true or false? “You can then use that evidence to come up with a more realistic thought that’s almost certain to be less negative,” Heyman says. For instance, you may think that diabetes is making your life miserable, which is making you feel overwhelmed and hopeless about multiple areas of your life. But after examining the situation, you may find that although diabetes does make some things challenging for you, you have a lot of other things in life that make you happy.
CREATE A HAPPY BASKET
Practising gratitude can help foster positive thinking. That’s why Susan Hyatt, a master certified life coach, recommends creating what she calls a happy basket. To do it, place a basket in a high-traffic area of your home, like the kitchen. When something makes you happy—like a photo, finished book, or card—place it in the basket. Every week, review your treasures and notice any trends. “You’re collecting things over a week’s time that fill you with gratitude and joy,” she says. Acknowledging the good in your life will help rebalance your outlook.
FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL
When you’re dealing with diabetes, it’s easy to let your mind drift to everything that could happen in the future. Try to resist the urge to keep thinking about all of the negative things that have occurred, are occurring, or could occur. Focus instead on what you can do to take care of yourself right now. “Taking back control can often dispel negative thoughts,” Hyatt says. It can help you live in the moment.