Positive thinking sounds a bit like it might be ‘easier said than done’, especially when we’re going through a tricky situation. However, it can actually just mean treating yourself with the same level of compassion and kindness that you extend to other people.
We are often told that it’s important to empathise with other people, but it actually takes a lot of skill and practice to empathise with ourselves as well. Sometimes, if we don’t like what we see in the mirror or we feel that we should have been more productive or behaved differently in a certain situation, we think things about ourselves that we wouldn’t dream of saying to a friend or loved one, such as ‘you’re not good enough’. Even if you make a mistake that you wouldn’t usually make, which may feel disappointing, it can really help to rephrase the way you think about that, such as changing thoughts like ‘I’m a failure’ to ‘I know I can do better than this.’
The NHS have developed their Good Thinking app for over 18's and there are many podcasts which offer advice on using positive thinking to help manage your wellbeing.
What young people have told us:
'Because self doubt and a lack of self confidence is one of my biggest issues and the more I look at positive quotes and things the more I say them and the more I believe them.'
'This is probably only suited to those who don't have mental illnesses or who have very mild symptoms.'
'If you beat yourself up over every little thing just try this, being positive as I've learnt is important and it really does help in ways you don't expect, but if you do try this it takes time the more you say it the more you believe it, look in the mirror and list all the good things about you they will quickly out rule the bad things about you.'
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.