Reframing Your Thoughts

Mental and emotional well-being are closely connected to sleep patterns. When individuals experience low self-esteem, they may be more prone to negative thoughts, anxiety and stress – and these factors can interfere with the ability to relax and fall asleep.

Low self-esteem might impact sleep in the following ways:

Negative Thoughts: Individuals with low self-esteem may engage in negative self-talk or have persistent self-doubt. These thoughts can be intrusive, especially when trying to wind down for sleep, making it challenging to relax.

Anxiety: Often associated with low self-esteem. Anxious thoughts and worries about self-worth or past events can become more prominent when trying to sleep, leading to difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.

Rumination: People with low self-esteem may ruminate on perceived failures, criticism, or mistakes, preventing their minds from settling down. This constant mental activity can make it difficult to achieve a restful state conducive to sleep.

Depression: A common feature for those with low self-esteem is depression, and sleep disturbances are a common symptom of depression. A person with low self-esteem and depression may experience insomnia or disrupted sleep patterns.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Addressing the root causes of low self-esteem through therapy, self-help strategies, or lifestyle changes can positively impact sleep quality. Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is a therapeutic approach that specifically addresses negative thought patterns and behaviours, including those contributing to poor sleep. It involves identifying and challenging negative thought patterns, replacing them with more balanced and constructive thoughts. For someone struggling with low self-esteem, reframing thoughts can be a powerful tool.

A child, for example, may be encouraged to reframe there thoughts like this:

1. Question: What thoughts make you feel not so good about yourself sometimes?

  • Answer: “I sometimes think I’m not good at anything, and nobody likes me.”

2. Question: Can we find examples that show you are good at things and that people appreciate you?

  • Answer: “Remember when your friend said they liked playing games with you? That shows people do like you, and you’re good at having fun together.”

3. Question: What would you say to a friend who feels like they’re not good at anything?

  • Answer: “I would tell them about all the cool things they can do! Maybe I should remember those things about myself too.”

4. Question: What are some awesome things about yourself that you might forget sometimes?

  • Answer: “I forget that I can draw really cool pictures, and my teacher said I’m a good helper. I should remember those things more often.”

5. Question: How can we change thoughts like ‘I’m not good enough’ into something more positive and true?

  • Answer: “Instead of saying ‘I can’t do anything right,’ I can say ‘I might not get it right the first time, but I can practice and get better.'”

6. Question: What kind things can you tell yourself when something is hard or feels tricky?

  • Answer: “I can say, ‘It’s okay if it’s hard now. I can ask for help, practice, and I’ll get better. I’ve done it before.'”

7. Question: Who are the people who really like having you around and think you’re special?

  • Answer: “My family always says they love me, and my friends like playing with me. I guess I am special to them.”

8. Question: How can you be a good friend to yourself when you feel sad or not so good?

  • Answer: “I can be kind to myself and say, ‘It’s okay to feel sad. I can talk to someone I trust and do things I like to feel better.'”

9. Question: What are some fun things you’re good at and make you happy?

  • Answer: “I love building with my blocks, and I’m really good at it. When I do that, I feel happy and proud of what I create.”

10. Question: Can we think of small things you can do that make you feel proud and confident?

  • Answer: “Maybe I can set a goal to finish my puzzle or read a book. When I do that, I’ll feel proud of myself for accomplishing something.”

Focus on the Positive – Child

Instead of dwelling on negative things that might have happened during the day, focus instead on the positive things:

1. Question: Are there ways you can focus on positive things around you to shift your feelings?

  • Answer: “I can think about the fun things I did today or the friends I played with. It might help me feel better about what happened.”

2. Question: How can you remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes and has learning moments?

  • Answer: “I’m not the only one who makes mistakes. Everyone does. It’s okay, and I can learn from this just like everyone else.”

3. Question: What can you do to distract yourself and shift your focus to something positive?

  • Answer: “I can do something I enjoy, like drawing or playing a game. It will help me take my mind off the situation and feel better.”

Focus on the Positive – Adult

1. Negative Thought: “Today was a disaster; nothing went right.” 

  • Reframing Thought: “What were some positive moments or small victories that occurred today, even if the overall day didn’t go as planned?”

2. Negative Thought: “I can’t face anyone; they’ll judge me.” 

  • Reframed Thought: “Who in my support system can I reach out to for understanding and encouragement? How can I communicate my feelings and seek reassurance from those I trust?”

3. Negative Thought: “I’m overwhelmed and can’t do anything right.” 

  • Reframed Thought: “Feeling overwhelmed is a signal that I need to prioritize and break tasks into smaller, manageable steps. What small actions can I take to address the most pressing issues?”

4. Negative Thought: “I should have done better; I always fall short.” 

  • Reframed Thought: “I can learn from today’s experiences to improve in the future. Mistakes are opportunities for growth. What specific lessons can I take away from today to apply going forward?”

5. Negative Thought: “Everyone must think less of me now.” 

  • Reframed Thought: “I cannot control others’ perceptions, but I can control how I respond and learn from my experiences. Who in my support system can I talk to for perspective and encouragement?”

6. Negative Thought: “I’ll never catch up or get ahead.” 

  • Reframed Thought: “While today was challenging, it doesn’t determine my future. What steps can I take tomorrow to regain a sense of control and move towards my goals?”

Remember, the goal is not to deny the challenges but to reframe them in a way that fosters resilience, learning, and a more balanced perspective. CBT encourages individuals to challenge negative automatic thoughts, identify cognitive distortions, and replace them with more constructive and realistic thoughts.

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