Step #2: Flip the script.
There is a difference between focusing on a problem to solve and replaying your mistakes repeatedly. Replaying your mistakes is just criticizing how you handled a situation, which is hypercriticism.
When you start noticing this, flip the script.
Go for a walk. Call a friend up to chat. Set up a coffee date. Watch TV or a movie. Hit the gym.
Do something that shifts your focus, and return to it once you’re ready to problem solve rather than criticize your mistakes.
Step #3: Find out if your thoughts are accurate.
There is plenty of evidence that shows our minds are not infallible. Your memory can be tricked. Your thoughts can be manipulated. Your perception can be skewed.
If you know you tend to focus only on the negative, you need to gather some evidence to see how accurate your thoughts are.
Here’s an example: Let’s say you are getting ready for a date. Your date wants to meet up with you at a dance club. You start to think, “I know I’m going to make a fool of myself. I have no rhythm.”
Now, please write out all the times someone other than yourself has told you you have no rhythm. Then, write out all the times someone has complimented anything about you while dancing. Then, after that, write out all the times you’ve danced and nobody said anything.
Lastly, tally up each section. The first section is negative, the second is positive, and the third is neutral. Chances are, for most, the negative area won’t be as full as the positive and neutral sections.