The end of a semester is often a busy time for most scholars. The past two months have been especially difficult for me. I am completing my qualifying exams, prepping to teach my first course, working on a research stud, and other paid jobs. In times like these, it is easy for me to get caught up in a negative mindset. In this blog post I want to share how I have been trying to shift my negative mindset to a more positive one.
1. Notice the negative thoughts
In order to shift a mindset, you first need to be aware that you are in a negative one. Luckily, I have been working on self-improvement for years now and it has become a little easier to notice when I am in a negative mindset. My regular therapy sessions often help me check in with myself and provide an opportunity to work with my counsellor on noticing and shifting these thoughts. My family and friends often keep me in check too.
2. Write them down
I recommend committing a day to tracking your thoughts in a journal. I know you are busy but this doesn’t take a lot of time. Even if you only track 3-5 thoughts down, that is a great place to start. Once I started to write down the thoughts in my head, I was able to realize how awful I am to myself. It was quite honestly a sad thing to realize. I would never treat others the way I have been treating myself. This was a big wake up call for me.
3. Shift the mindset
It was time for a mindset shift! But I didn’t realize how difficult it would be. When you are stuck in a negative mindset, it is really difficult to see things positively. I felt extremely hopeless. I started small. For instance, when I was rejected by a grant recently, my shift looked like this:
Negative mindset: “You will never be good enough to achieve this grant.”
Positive mindset: “You put in a lot of hard work to at least be in the running for this grant”
This isn’t a big shift, and it didn’t make me feel better. But it started to shift from being so hard on myself to appreciating the work I put into the grant.
4. Practice, Practice, Practice!
The practice never stops. I need to practice this shifts on the daily. Eventually, the shifts are becoming a little easier. I start to gradually see things more positively. And my mindset shifts have sometimes even become motivating. Now this doesn’t mean my work is magically easier. It is still very difficult – but I am capable and up for the challenge (see what I did there).
Here are some examples of mindset shifts that I need to make – on the daily!
I am still practicing and have a long way to go. What is your experience with negative mindsets and shifting to a more positive one?
Until next time,
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