You know by now that it is completely legitimate and obtainable that one can erase acne by treating the root cause of it with a holistic lifestyle.
But… do you ever find yourself thinking things like this?
“I will never get rid of my acne”
“I can’t exercise because I don’t have time. And it’s too hard”
“My hormones are out of whack, so there is nothing I can do”
“I’ve always loved sweets.. I’ll never be able to stop eating chocolate”
“No one will ever love me without perfect skin”
The truth is that you are completely in charge of your own life. And everything that happens to your body, including acne, is a result of the things that you think. You can use your mind to spur yourself to live healthfully and get rid of your acne. Or you can use your mind to tell yourself that you’re a failure and it’s too hard, and make it very easy for yourself to give up.
Your success is never dependent on genetics, stubborn hormones, or anything else. It’s dependent on you and you only to find a way to make it happen.
Unfortunately, many people are plagued with automatic negative thoughts and almost everybody believes that the thoughts that come into their heads are true simply because they thought them. But guess what? The way you see the world and interpret events are shaped by your belief system, which is often faulty and limiting.
Something that not many people realize though is that you don’t have to believe every thought that comes into your own head. No, really. You don’t. Question everything, especially if the thoughts are negative and limiting. These are the ones that will keep you from succeeding.
I read a book a while ago called “Change Your Brain, Change Your Body” by Dr. Daniel Amen. He’s a doctor who recognizes that a person’s brain is the key to how successful they are at losing weight or improving their skin.
This is because our thoughts and our brains control our bodies. Our bodies don’t think for themselves. They don’t crave, they don’t know what’s going on – everything in the body is controlled by the brain. Our mind attaches itself to things – like ice cream or laziness – and the body reflects what the mind wants. So changing your thinking can definitely help you to change your lifestyle, and inevitably change your skin.
In this book, he describes 9 common breeds of automatic negative thoughts that sabotage people every day in their efforts for a better body.
Types of Negative Thoughts:
All or Nothing
These negative thoughts enter your brain when you think that everything is completely perfect, or completely bad. It’s very black and white.
For example, when you eat perfectly for a week or month, you think you are the greatest and can’t fail to clear your acne. But if you slip up, you start to think you have awful discipline and that what’s the point – you’ll never clear your acne if you can’t be perfect with it- and you want to give up.
A better idea would be to simply acknowledge that you ate something unhealthy and continue with your diet the next day. One slip up will not ruin everything.
This is when you think in terms of overgeneralized words such as always, never, all the time, or everyone.
“I always forget to exercise. I’ll never clear my skin”.
“Everyone has such beautiful skin except for me”.
“I forget to take my supplements every morning. I’m an idiot”.
These absolutes make you feel doomed to fail at living healthfully, so you tend to subconsciously conform your behaviours to fit them.
Focusing on the Negative
This is when you tend to focus on the negative aspects of a situation, despite there being plenty of positives.
For example, if you were challenging yourself to be gluten free for one month but you ate a piece of bread when you were out for dinner on Day 25, you might think “Ugh!! I know I went 25 days gluten free, but I wanted to go for 30… I suck.”
Instead, try thinking something like “Oh well, 25 gluten free days is pretty good! Next time I’ll make it to 30 no problem!”
Thinking with Your Feelings
We often get ‘feelings’ about things, and because we felt them, we just assume there is a good reason, and therefore they must be true.
For example “I feel so discouraged about my skin… it feels like it’s never really going to clear up”. Yes… it may feel that way, but there is NO EVIDENCE that it’s really true. Feelings can be wrong and you don’t need to believe every feeling is based in fact just because you felt it.
Thinking in words such as “should”, “must”, “ought to”, and “have to” is negative thinking which involves using excessive guilt to control behaviour.
Not all guilt is bad, as a little bit of guilt is somewhat necessary to perform the healthy habits necessary to clear your skin – along the lines of “Man. I feel like staying in bed but I should really do my workout”. And then hopefully you get up and do your workout.
However, if you don’t do it and then spend the rest of the day flogging yourself with guilt over the situation, then it’s not so great.
This is when you use negatives names or labels to describe you, someone else, or a situation. Any time you tell yourself that you’re a loser, or you suck at this or that, or you’re lazy, or a failure, you are keeping yourself a lazy, failing loser. Why try to change anything if that is what you are? This defeatist attitude allows you to give up before you’ve even tried.
This one is a BAD ONE! And it’s probably the most common.
It involves predicting the worst even though you have NO IDEA what is going to happen in the future. “I can’t change my diet. It’s too hard. I’m just going to cheat all the time if I try”… and the one I most often fall prey to: “Oh no. I just got a new spot even though I haven’t had one in a while. My skin is only going to get worse from here. All my acne is going to come back, I know it”.
Anytime this happens, just talk back to the thought. “No it’s not going to get worse! There’s no reason to believe it’ll get worse. There is no need to worry over things that have not happened.” It’s our past experiences that shape our fears the most, and we don’t want them to paralyze us.
Another incredibly common negative thought – this involves believing that you know what another person is thinking, even though they haven’t told you and you haven’t asked. “She’s looking my way. She must be looking at how horrible my skin looks”.
You don’t know that. There is a million reasons she may be looking in your general direction and it probably has nothing to do with your acne.
Blaming other people for your failures is toxic to your own success.
How many times have you thought “I can’t ever clear my skin – my roommate stays up late and keeps me up and I can never get a good sleep”. Or “I only started smoking because you did. Now I’m addicted, I can’t quit, and it’s your fault”. Or “The doctor screwed up my health with too many antibiotics. Now I’m too unhealthy to ever get better”.
Not taking responsibility for your own behaviours, actions, successes, and failures paralyzes you. There is no way you can change if you believe that it is someone else’s fault that you were in the situation you are in. And I’m not saying that you should instead flog yourself with guilt and blame, just that if you take responsibility for the situation you’re in, then you give yourself the power to change it. If it’s someone else’s fault, then they have the power and you are stuck in your own misery.
Here are two methods you can use to combat negative thoughts:
The ANT (automatic negative thought) Squisher
Whenever you feel upset, frustrated, nervous, anxious, or fearful, sit down and write down each negative thought and which variety of negative thought it is (from the list above). Then come up with a response to it that kills it.
For example, you may be thinking “My skin is being good, but I know it’s going to break out soon”. Write that down, and then write “Fortune-telling” beside it.
Then your response may be: “You don’t know it’s going to break out. I’ve been really taking care of myself now, and perhaps it will stay clear. Feeling bad because I believe that it will is only going to make it more likely to happen”.
Do “The Work”
Another way to combat them is to do “The Work”, as per Katie Byron’s book “Loving What Is“. The Work consists of writing down all your negative thoughts and then asking yourself the following four questions;
Is the negative thought true?
Can I absolutely know that it is true?
How do I react when I think that thought?
Who would I be without the thought? Or how would I feel if I didn’t have the thought?
You are thinking “Both my parents had bad acne. Holistic healing probably isn’t going to work for me”
Is it true that it isn’t going to work for you?
“Yes, because it’s hereditary and the odds are stacked against me”
Can you absolutely know beyond a shadow of a doubt that your parents having bad acne means that holistic healing won’t work?
“Well… no, not really. I just assume”
How do you feel when you have this negative thought?
“Sad. Deflated. Demotivated”
How would I feel if I didn’t have that thought?
“I’d feel a lot more motivated to try improving my lifestyle to see if it helps”
After you’ve answered the questions, try turning the negative thought around and figuring out what the opposite of it is.
In this case it would be “My parents had bad acne, but that doesn’t mean that heredity has to express itself if I am healthy. Everyone who has acne has inherited problematic skin genes from their families. Holistic healing can work just as well for me as anybody else”.
Is this opposite thought true or maybe even truer than the original thought? Yes, quite possibly! You may as well try and see!
Another example is one of my personal ones. I’ve always been quite thin which I don’t really like (I know it’s because I have a limiting belief about looking young). I dislike feeling skinny, so if for some reason my pants feel kind of loose, I automatically tend to feel bad about myself and think that I’ve lost weight.
Negative thought: “Oh no, it seems like I’ve lost weight. I’m so skinny, I don’t feel womanly at all”
Is it true that you’ve lost weight?
“Yes, well it sure seems like it”
Are you absolutely sure that you’ve lost weight and that it’s making you look skinny and unwomanly?
“Uh… no. I haven’t weighed myself. I’m also not in someone else’s shoes to be able to judge whether I actually look skinny or not. I also haven’t washed my pants in a while, so maybe they’re just stretched out”
How do you feel when you have this thought?
How would I feel or be if I didn’t have this thought?
“Confident and just not really thinking about it”
What’s the opposite of this thought? That I haven’t lost weight at all and that I never really looked skinny or unwomanly to begin with, except in my own mind.
Could this be true? Yep!
Maybe I better just wash my pants more often and get on with life.
Which automatic negative thoughts do you fall prey to most often?
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