Looking for work can feel extremely stressful, but we may not realize that the negative thoughts we have around finding a job can actually be the very thing that’s preventing us from getting one.

Too often, it’s our negative thoughts around finding a job that can make us doubt our capabilities or worthiness, and some of those undermining or diminishing thoughts can, in fact, harm our chances of getting hired. Without realizing it, the negative energy around our thoughts can give off a negative vibration that people pick up, and we may not even know that the critical self-talk that’s going on in our head, is the very thing that could sabotage us getting the very thing we need; a job.

That’s why it’s important to be aware of those negative thoughts right when they begin to percolate and wreak havoc with our emotions, and recognize that it’s time to separate from them. The Says Who? method is a straightforward, powerful way of questioning and challenging those thoughts that stops them right in their tracks. And by facing a negative thought with a question, we find out if it’s true — or if we can just let it go. This is an approach anyone can use to overcome negative thoughts so you can be better prepared and confident while seeking employment.

Here’s how to get rid of those negative thoughts in 4 simple steps:

  1. Acknowledge the stress.Recognize its existence, even if it’s upsetting. Don’t deny it or try to push it away. Admit you’re feeling stress about looking for a job, and accept that you’re having those negative thoughts. Doing so allows you to focus on what is happening in the “now,” which is actual and real, instead of focusing on the emotions surrounding the thoughts.
  1. Shift into observer mode.Shift gears out of reactive mode into observer mode. In reactive mode, you have no distance from your own negative thoughts. But in observer mode, you turn into a witness that is separated and independent from them. Then you’re in a position to ask yourself questions to help get calm and grounded.
  1. Ask that negative thought, “Says Who?”You are demanding that thought reveal who is responsible for it. In other words, how did it get in your mind? Once you find out, you can decide what to do about it. Is it your original thought, or was it someone else’s that you took as your own? You may even discover it is an old thought that has become part of your core beliefs, and now it’s time to challenge it and let it go.

Say you’re always thinking, “I’m never going to find the right job.” Asking, “Says Who?” really means: “Why am I saying that I’m never going to find the right job?” Then go one step further. Ask yourself, “Is it me? If so, why would I think a thought that makes me feel insecure or doubt myself?”

  1. Now you’re ready to continue the questioning process.The next questions after “Says Who?”further challenge those negative thoughts. Asking, “Have I heard someone say this thought before?” helps you find out if the negative thought is your opinion, or someone else’s. Asking, “Do I like this thought?” gives you license to consider whether it’s a thought worth keeping. And questions such as “Does this thought work for me?” can help you transform that negative thought into something positive and life-affirming. That’s the kind of thought that will help you feel good about yourself so you can venture forth to find a job that is right for you, and that you deserve.

The Says Who? Method is a powerful tool for stopping the stressful, negative thoughts we can have about finding a job. That’s because we tend to judge ourselves, especially when we feel vulnerable. This method stops that anxious “self-doubt on repeat” in its tracks, so you can stop judging yourself so harshly, and be proactive in finding a good job. You can become more effective, successful, and productive. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, it helps you feel empowered — to do and be your best.