Bye bye negative thoughts...

6 March 2019

I’ve often written how positive thinking or negative thoughts can affect your eczema. And as this is a time of year where some people choose to give things up for a little while, I have a great idea for you guys. Give up your negative attitude about your eczema.

Believe me it’s sooo much easier than giving up chocolate! Actually, joking apart, it’s something you do have to work at and pay some attention to. Especially when I land you with this double whammy. Instead of just giving up negative thoughts, it’s time to actively take up some positive ones.

How to banish those negative thoughts

What do I mean by that? Well we’re all only human after all. And it’s a natural and pretty unfortunate trait of most human beings to jump to conclusions and worry about worst-case scenarios (that usually don’t come to anything). Imagine you get nine compliments in a day and one insult. What do you focus on? If you’re anything like I used to be, it’s the insult every time.

Well, I hope nobody’s going around insulting you, lovelies! But even if someone says something slightly ambiguous, do you twist it into something worse? Here’s how I used to do this:

Friend: “Hi Camille, you’re looking great today.”

My brain: “What?! Today? What about yesterday, or the day before? Did my skin look bad? What is it about TODAY that makes me look so good that I now need to try and copy so I look good tomorrow, too?”

Oh it was so exhausting! But you know what, I’ve long since given up that kind of negative flow and it’s liberating! Even better, it’s not a case of simply shrugging it off. Rather than think “hmm, was that a little insult about how I looked yesterday, oh well I’ll just ignore it”, I draw all the positives from it.

My brain: “You look good today. It’s lovely they’ve thought to say that out loud, not everything thinks to pay someone a small compliment. Say thank you and tell them something good about themselves”.

So now I feel great, I pay it forward and they feel great.

Okay, here’s the science. We all have something called ‘attention bias’ which is where we focus on the negative in order to protect ourselves from (now) non-existent dangers, like sabre-toothed tigers.

But we can reframe this. Are you ready to put in a bit of practice? Because just telling yourself not to think negatively probably won’t be enough. And as we eczema warriors know, we can manage our eczema, we can live with it, we can learn to control it and not let it overshadow our lives. But we can’t always prevent a flare up and it’s so important when this happens not to let yourself spiral into negativity about your eczema. And then to take the next oh-so-important leap and to start thinking positively about it. You can love your eczema, you know!

Love my eczema?! Erm, why would I want to do that? Here’s why. Because it’s part of you. It’s not some alien invading your body and a flare up is there as a reminder to slow down, take care and invest in yourself.

When I get a flare up now, I know it’s time to dial everything back. For me it’s a good time to chase some sunshine. My eczema tells me to get some more rest, to focus a little more on what I’m eating and drinking, to maybe take some time out from work. It’s my little voice saying Camille, time to put the brakes on.

Here’s how to reframe those nasty negative thoughts:

Ask yourself if it really is true? Many negative thoughts come from within and we simply invent a scenario. But is it real? Or have you just made it real in your brain.

Stick to the facts. From now on, don’t speculate or assume or imagine. If your thoughts are inaccurate, ask yourself how you can replace them with factual, real ones?

Get the evidence. You’re a lawyer in court putting your thoughts on trial. Court cases aren’t won or lost on conjecture. It’s all about the evidence (think CSI but without any gory bits!). What evidence is there to support your thoughts? And what evidence is there to have them thrown out of court? Remember, any reasonable doubt can sway a jury, so if there’s even a tiny shred of evidence that your thoughts are inaccurate time to get rid and replace them.

Keep up your affirmations and your journalling too and you’ll gradually train your brain into this way of thinking naturally. With a little practice, your default mechanism will alter from immediately turning to the negative. And even on the times that you do wander into the realms of negativity, you’ll be armed with all the tools you need to quickly turn it around.

Good luck lovelies!

Lots of love, Camille xx

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