Tip #136: Write positive reminders to yourself.
The Why: You know that classic movie moment? The protagonist will be hitting a crisis moment, whether that’s in their work, their relationships, or life in general; they’ll be sitting looking beat down with their head on their hands. It makes you wonder if everything will turn out okay in the end.
Then suddenly, the lightbulb moment, they’ll see it.
A sign. Sometimes quite literally. Whether that’s an advert on a bus telling them to follow their dreams, hearing someone on the radio give some great advice in a voiceover, or a book their reading will point them in the right direction. No matter the method, the result is the same, they know how to fix their problem.
Unfortunately, (or fortunately depending on what genre yours would be), life isn’t a movie. There often aren’t such poignant directives that magically give the solutions to our various stresses. This is why we must create those signs and reminders for ourselves.
Whether it’s going through a break-up, hitting a brick wall with an essay, or considering changing jobs, our minds can be full of negativity and self-depreciation. Our minds can become an anxious symphony of doubt.
So, write yourself reminders that everything is going to be okay.
Step One – Choose Your Medium
There are three main mediums that you can use to write your reminders; audio, visual and tangible.
Audio reminders would be recording a voice message telling yourself what you need to hear that you can listen to whenever you’re having a moment of panic.
Visual reminders are things like setting a reminder on your phone to pop-up once a day at certain times to give you a pick me up.
Tangible reminders could be writing post-it notes with lovely messages to yourself and sticking them around your space, or on your computer.
You can even use a mix of all three, should your needs require. Just make sure that whatever you use, it’s somewhere easily available and noticeable.
Step Two – Get Specific
As ever, what is most useful when dealing with anxiety is really getting to know yourself and what you need. Of course, stock phrases like ‘you are good enough’ are really useful in changing your overall mindset, but may not be that helpful when stressed about a specific problem.
Say for instance you are feeling anxious about your current job, and wish to pursue a childhood dream instead, writing a reminder to say “you have the power within to follow your own path” is far more relevant and helpful.
Step Three – Make It Work For You
Before writing your reminders, think about what exactly your problem is, and consequently, exactly what you want your reminders to do for you.
Do you want them to help you get perspective? Make you brave? Make you happier?
Find concrete aims of how exactly you want your reminders to make you feel – and write them accordingly.
Step Four – Get Sappy
Sometimes reminders don’t have to be words or phrases, sometimes they can be an image that motivates you.
On my wall, I have placed a picture of the UN, a dream job I one day wish to work at to make the world a better place. It may sound strange, but when I find myself distracted or checking Facebook, I look up at the picture, and remember why I need to work hard.
Finding what motivates you in life, whether that’s your children, a dog you wish to one day own, or an ultimate goal, can also serve as solid reminders of why we are doing what we’re currently doing, and what keeps us going when things are tough.
Writing reminders is an easy way of letting yourself know that things are going to work out just fine, because sometimes when you have anxiety or depression it’s very easy to forget. Being able to look at something you wrote when you weren’t in the midst of a panic attack tells you “aha! Sane (insert your name) knew everything was going to be okay, it’s just panicking (insert your name) being irrational. It’s all good.”
So, see it as a way of stopping those negative thought cycles in their tracks!
Oh, and in case you needed a reminder today: you are a good person, you deserve love, and you deserve happiness.