If you repeat an idea long enough, eventually you begin to believe it's the truth -- even if it's not based on facts or reality. This is how negative thinking eats away at self-esteem, according to MayoClinic.com. One way to transform negative thinking patterns is to repeat a mantra, or short affirmation, that uses positive words to challenge unfounded negative beliefs. A mantra might be a single word or a short phrase and is traditionally used as a tool to clear the mind during meditation; however, you can use a mantra anytime to calm jangled nerves or help you focus.
Identify the situations in your life where you want to change negative thinking habits. For example, perhaps you are down on yourself about your work performance or critical about your ability to achieve a goal.
Write down some of the negative statements you commonly repeat in your head, such as "I'm afraid I'm going to get fired if I don't perform better at my job." Don't censor yourself while listing your negative statements. Confronting your negative self talk is the best way to change it.
Use encouraging language and focus on your strengths instead of perceived weaknesses to turn negative statements into positive ones. "I'm going to get fired if I don't perform better" might become "I have the skills to succeed at my job and the confidence to showcase them to my supervisors." Write down the positive statements and post them in a place where you'll see them often to reinforce your new way of thinking.
Select one or two of the most meaningful positive sayings and shorten it to use as an easily repeated mantra. For example, "I have the skills to succeed at my job and the confidence to showcase them to my supervisors" can condense to "Skills, success and confidence." Avoid using words like should, must, will or might when creating your mantra. A mantra that is succinct and positive is easier to remember and may have greater impact.
Repeat the mantra anytime you are in a stressful situation or find yourself practicing negative self talk.