Challenge negative feelings

The same way you might if a friend was feeling down on themselves, it can really help to think of some reasons to question your negative feelings. We can be very hard on ourselves and it’s much easier to fall into a pattern of self-criticism than it is of self-compassion - but practicing being kind to yourself can help to lift your spirits. For example, if you feel anxious and self-critical, you can try telling yourself that that is your anxiety speaking, not you, and that it will eventually pass without harming you.

Some people find it helps to visualise their negative thoughts in the mind’s eye as balloons, and let them fly away.

In the following video, Claire Evans, Head of CYP MH at the Centre, gives some simple advice about ways you can challenge negative thoughts:

What young people have told us:

'This helped because if you imagine that it's not actually YOUR thoughts then you think that they are not true and eventually they ""float"" away by themselves anyways. This truly does help to banish negative and self critical thoughts.'

'I can relate to the examples and the methods suggested in the video are some of the methods i use very commonly. I have surrounded myself already with positive people but its also reminded me to try to remove the negative people as well.'

'It is a great thing to do because it does not require any physical needs or equipment and you can do it anytime anywhere and it is unnoticeable.'

'It has made me realise that I do think negative thoughts about myself and they have increased during lockdown. I am going to practise some of the self help suggestions and remind myself to talk to someone about my feelings and remember to be kind to myself.'

There isn’t much academic research in the area of self-care for young people who are living with mental health issues. We are trying to find out more about what works for different people so we can better advise other young people what to try.

If you’ve tried this activity when you were struggling in relation to your mental health, please let us know if it helped you and how by clicking on the ‘Did this activity help you’ button.

Did this activity help your mental wellbeing?

If yes, why do you think it helped?

What would you say to other young people who are thinking of trying this?

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