Stop Negative Thinking with a Hair Band [Mental Health Tip]

Snap out of it! Take a small step toward quitting negative thinking or changing unwanted behavior using a hair band around your wrist.

Lately, I’ve been working on my mental health and negative thinking. I recently found myself inside a whirlwind of anxiety, depression, and sometimes self-hatred. The truth is, during the pandemic lockdown, I was totally in control of my life, and while everyone else was falling apart, I was thriving. But as life started to return to a version of normal, my mental health took a turn for the worse. I couldn’t understand why, but getting back out in the world and returning to the life I had pre-2020 felt terrifying. My anxiety and depression hit new highs, and leaving my house filled me with fear and worry. It was unexpected, and I assumed it would disappear as I settled into a post-lockdown world, but it didn’t. And what’s worse is, I took it out on myself. I stopped eating right, stopped exercising, gained weight, got even more depressed, wished I would go to sleep and not wake up for a few weeks… and I blamed only myself. Many of us have felt this way, and I know several of you can relate. So why couldn’t I get myself together? Obviously, there was something wrong with me.

Negative thinking about myself, my body, my personality, and my choice of words is a constant behavior of mine. I am getting better at it now, but I couldn’t seem to get rid of them for a while, and they only multiplied when ignored. In fact, these thoughts were so prevalent that I didn’t even know I had them; they just existed and infected my mood all day, every day. To help combat this default setting, I first needed to recognize when I had a negative thought about myself. If I never actively acknowledge that I have the thought, I can’t actively judge if the thought is helpful or harmful, and 95% of the time, a negative thought falls in the harmful category. Those thoughts are unwanted and unnecessary; if I recognize them, I can also acknowledge that they are useless and should be discarded and forgotten. Or even better, spin the negative thought into a positive perception about myself.

Use a hair band to combat negative thinking…

The trick I chose to use has been around for a long time, and that’s because it works. If you don’t know the hair band or rubber band trick, it’s an excellent tool for making yourself aware of specific thoughts or habits; and it’s often used when trying to quit or change behaviors. The actual practice is simple, wear a hair band or rubber band around your wrist and every time you have a thought or craving related to the behavior you’re trying to change, snap it. The idea is not to cause pain but to make you hyper-aware of your behavior. For example, if I try to rid myself of negative thinking regarding my body, I would snap the band whenever I think I’m fat, ugly, or have any harmful critique. By doing so, I can stop to ask why I had the thought, if the thought is valid, and make a decision to combat the thought or discard the thought as a result. Ideally, the more aware I become about when and why I have these thoughts and recognize how useless they are, the more I can change my thought behaviors moving forward.

Will the hair band or rubber band trick cure me of all negative thinking? No. Will it turn me into a ball of positive energy and light? No. Will it help me take a small step toward being a healthier individual? Absolutely! Try it for yourself. If you’re trying to quit a habit or change a behavior, wear the band and see if it helps you recognize the triggers and frequency of your habit or behavior. I hope it works as well for you as it has for me!