I find that my self-doubt is like a domino effect. I have one negative thought about something trivial — like the fact that I’m pretty sure I just plucked a grey hair — and then bam!, I’m down a rabbit hole of self-hate. Down the slippery slope, I question every life choice and silly mistake I’ve made. Then, I hit the bottom and lament about how useless I am and wonder why I am not achieving the impossible goals I’ve set for myself. Does this sound familiar? Hopefully not, but if you’re among the large number of millennials that experience crippling self-doubt, hop aboard and try out these five quick tips to snap yourself out of that bad mood and avoid that rabbit hole altogether.
My mom had a yoga teacher that used to help her students find yogi inner peace in savasana by telling them to imagine a broom in the middle of their mind. The broom was there to sweep out any bad thoughts that entered the brain, because they didn’t belong in such a quiet, sacred mind. I found this analogy very strange as a child, but as an adult, I totally get it. Just “breathing” is so difficult to do as an adult. We’re constantly being inundated with information, have to-do list items pop in our heads at random times, and just generally don’t know how to “shut off.” A philosophical broom allows us to visualize the physical act of sending our thoughts away when we’re trying to quiet the mind, and this is honestly more helpful than you’d think. Simply taking a few quick breaths to snap your mind back into action can be all you need to reset your brain.
2. Put on your favorite song and dance
I have multiple playlists on my Spotify account for moments like this. Some include really funky electric numbers that make me want to get up and groove and others include seriously powerful women reminding me that I’m my own soulmate (thanks, Lizzo). Pick a song and immerse yourself in it. I personally like to pretend I’m the star of my own music video while walking down the city streets on my lunch break, but don’t think you have to reach that level of crazy to achieve happiness. So queue up a few songs that you really love, and stash a few playlists away for days like these, and get to groovin’.
3. Send a friend a funny meme
This tip helps me in two ways: I get to laugh at funny memes, and I get to send my friends funny memes — and then they hopefully laugh too. It’s a win-win situation that takes all the guilt out of Internet trolling. Sometimes they’re relatable quotes from some famous person’s Twitter, and sometimes they’re just a dog doing something hilarious. Either way, I usually allow myself a few moments to scroll through a few good ones and laugh as I shoot them off to friends. When you’re upset about something and falling into a self-hate hole, one of the best remedies can be to completely break your concentration with something funny (finally a good excuse to get lost in a social media scroll session!). However, be wary. It can be easy to fall into a trap of comparing yourself to others on social media. This can become a double-edged sword and make you fall deeper into despair, the opposite of what you wanted! If you decide to do some mindless scrolling, keep it light and fun, and set a timer. Your purpose is to laugh, not to compare.
4. Write it down for later
It’s important to identify your insecurities and make plans to grow from them. Although most times self-doubt comes from insecurities that only we can see, the fears are still real. Some of these fears can have very real and fun solutions. If you’re insecure about a life skill, enroll yourself in a course to learn more. If you’re feeling bad about your body, find some free yoga routines to do online to help boost your confidence. If the insecurities are bigger than simple fixes, try finding someone to talk to that’s encouraging and loving. Oftentimes, voicing your fears out loud can help rationalize them and remind you that you can overcome them.
5. Call your mom
It’s easy to fall in a dark place by yourself, but it’s much harder to fall into that dark place with someone who cares about you. It doesn’t have to be your mom, but finding someone who is your #hypegirl or your champion to pick you up when you’re down is crucial. Calling someone doesn’t have to mean pouring out your insecurities or talking about what makes you sad, you can simply phone a friend or family member to just have a familiar voice on the line. For me, sometimes that’s all I need to be snapped out of my bad mood and reminded that I am not the horrible person my mind makes me out to be. Just remember that genuine relationships grow on reciprocation, so be sure to give as much as you take.
So next time your mind wants to tell your how awful/ugly/insert nasty thing here, stop it in its tracks. Remember that you are the one that controls your thoughts and actions, and if you want to have a good day, well then you damn well should.