Your thoughts are the boss of your feelings
Did you know that you think an average of 10,000 thoughts a day? And those thoughts have the power to change how you feel? Here's how you can think your way out of a bad mood!
Remember the last time you felt really down? You may have thought things like, "nobody likes me," "all of my clothes don't fit," "I look like a boy!" "my hair looks ugly," and soon your whole day seemed gloomy, and everything was sad. When you think about it though, things in your life were probably no worse than they were before you start feeling down. When you told yourself that everything sucks, your brain just kind of believed it!
For some parts of your brain – especially the part that controls your emotions – whatever you think becomes a reality.
Now, this might sound like something out of a wacky science fiction novel, and totally made up, but it's true: these parts of your brain react the same way to thinking you're ugly and have no friends, as it would if you were actually ugly and friendless (which we both know you're not.) Your brain can't tell the difference between a negative thought, "why would anybody even want to be friends with me?" and in actual fact, "Sophia told me she does not want to be friends with me anymore." For your brain, your thoughts are fact and your emotions do what it says. The good news? You can actually change how you feel about a situation by changing what you think. You just need to learn a few techniques in order to do it. Here, let's look at some specific situations to see how you can turn things around.
The situation: Your best friend is hanging out with another girl.
How you react:
You think about the new girl and you think that she's funnier than you, has cooler clothes, or is MORE amazing at sports. You think that she's better than you, better at everything than you, and you're feeling rejected. Pretty soon, you're thinking you're not good enough and feeling terrible… Not to mention a little jealous.
Change your thinking:
1. Let's look at reality. A reality check! ask yourself, "am I really not good enough?" "Who says that?" "Was I good enough yesterday with my best friend when we were laughing and having fun?" "What has changed about me since then?"
2. Get some more information. Does your friend really not want to be your friend anymore, or see just looking to have more friends? There's one way to find out – talk to her!
3. Look at the situation from someone else's point of view. If someone were looking in from the outside, she'd probably think, why can't your BFF want you both as friends? And she'd be right.
4. Ask yourself if what you're thinking will get you what you want. Do you want what you're thinking to come true? Does thinking, "my best friend doesn't want to be friends anymore," really help you? Definitely not. A more positive thought such as, "my best friend is making friends with a girl who will probably become my friend, too!" Will put you in such a better mood!
The situation: Some kids laughed at you for getting the wrong answer in class.
How you react:
You think, "that was stupid of me to guess the wrong answer." "I'm so stupid." "I must be so dumb. I'm dumber than all the other kids." Now you're feeling insecure and thinking about never raising your hand again!
Change your thinking
1. Do a reality check. Ask yourself, "just because some kids laughed, does it really mean that I'm dumber than I was before this happened?" "Haven't I heard other kids – even really smart kids – answer questions wrong?" Did it stop them from raising their hands again?
2. Look at the situation from someone else's point of view. If someone gave your answer and you found out they got laughed at for it you'd think, those kids are mean for teasing her, not, what a dummy for getting one answer wrong!
3. Ask yourself, if what you're thinking will get you what you want? Do you want this to be true?
Will being insecure about how smart I am, make me feel any smarter? Will it help me recover from the mistake any faster? Nope. Thinking I just happened to get an answer wrong, and that happens to everyone, will help you bounce back much faster.
The situation: You wanted to tell your mom about something that happened today, but she was busy and told you, "not right now... Can't you see I'm in the middle of something?"
How you react:
You become convinced that your mom hates you. And you think about running away, or about your siblings and how much your mom loves them and listens to their stories.
Change your thinking:
1. Do a reality check. Ask yourself, "is this really true?" "Does my mom really not want to hear about my day?" "She has a lot of dishes to do, and kids to take care of, does she really not love me as much as my brother and sister?"
2. Get more information. Instead of stewing in silence, take action: When your mom is no longer busy, ask her if she's ready to hear your story. Chances are, she will love to hear about your day, and it makes more sense than your "she hates me," idea. You'll feel a lot better if you hadn't returned, to turn the situation around.
3. Ask yourself if what you're thinking will get you what you want. Will becoming convinced that your mom dislikes you and that you should move out, help you build a better connection? No way – in fact, it's just the opposite.
By now you're probably getting the hang of this, and the next time you feel a defeating thought coming on, pull out the strategies, keep them in your back pocket, and see how powerful they really are. Now that you have some new knowledge, you'll be able to squash those pesky negative thoughts and turn your bad moods into good ones!