1. Monitor your thoughts.
Jotting down your self-critical judgments — I’m a loser, I’m stupid, I’m ugly — in a journal or a personal-digital assistant is the first step to mastering them: That process alone may decrease the intensity and frequency. Also note the situations in which these feelings occur and see if you can spot patterns.

2. Evaluate your judgments.
Define your terms and examine whether your standards are arbitrary or fair. If you think you’re a “bad person,” are you a bad person all the time? Are there times when you are adequate?
Psychiatrists says patients often find that their views are internally inconsistent. “I’ll ask, ‘What does a loser look like to you?’ The patient is picturing a guy in sweatpants sitting around the house drinking beer. I say, ‘Is that what you did yesterday?’ And he’ll say, ‘Well, no.’ ”

3. Collect objective data.
Challenge negative thoughts with hard facts. Keep a short list of your achievements on a note card and pull it out when your self-criticism threatens to overwhelm you. Or look back at your own CV and review what you’ve accomplished.

4. Conviction or condemnation?
Recognize the difference between thoughts that are critical and those that are constructive, suggest Psychologists.
If you overeat at a picnic, thinking “I am a fat pig” is a condemnation, they say, whereas thinking “I’ll try to start eating better tomorrow” is a conviction.
“Your goal should be improvement, rather than putting yourself down.”

5. Re-evaluate your values.
Make sure that whatever you are beating yourself up about is worth striving for. Some goals, like kindness, integrity, and being self-disciplined, enhance the meaning and quality of life, whereas others only feed into your sense of defectiveness.

Dr.Hemant Mittal
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