Negative Self-Talk – How to Get A Grip on It
Most people have dealt with some sort of negativity in their lives. Negative experiences often start during childhood and continue throughout our adult lives. This is a normal part of life that we all deal with.
Too often though, our general thoughts become negative as well. Even more troubling is when we start talking to ourselves in a negative manner.
This negative self-talk is one of the most limiting behaviors one can deal with but with awareness and a few actionable steps, it can be turned into positive self-talk.
What is Negative Self-talk?
Negative self-talk is any inner or outer dialogue you have with yourself that may be limiting your ability to believe in yourself and what you are capable of achieving.
It is any thought that diminishes your ability to make positive changes in your life or your belief in yourself to do so.
So negative self-talk can not only be stressful, but it can really stunt your success.
Consequences of Negative Self-Talk
Continual negative self-talk can act as a self-fulfilling prophecy – the more you tell yourself negative things the more you will believe them.
You think “perfect ” exists and it is the only way to achieve something.
This black and white thinking automatically sets you up to fail. Negativity won’t allow you to try anything as you don’t believe that there are different levels of competency.
Constant negative chatter will wear you down (both mentally and physically) and can eventually spiral into depression.
Constantly bemoaning yourself, life, or others is very draining for people who have a more positive outlook on life.
As such healthy relationships could be hard to sustain as positive people tend to avoid needy, insecure people and negativity in general.
Examples of Negative Thinking
We all doubt ourselves at times but If you catch yourself repeatedly thinking these thoughts when considering a new goal, challenge, or life in general, then you are being ruled by your negative thinking:
- I can’t ……
- I’m not good/clever/rich/thin/pretty/ talented enough….
- Why bother, I will never ……..
- It’s not my fault
- It’s hopeless
9 Tips to Manage Your Negative Self-Talk
1. Distinguish between Negative Thoughts and Critical Thinking
We need to have a certain amount of self-critique, otherwise, we will never believe that we are doing something wrong or try and better ourselves.
However, you need to recognize when constructive critiquing turns into harmful negative self-talk.
When you can distinguish between these, it will lead to a better situation as you can change self-sabotaging thinking.
2. Realize Thoughts and Feelings Aren’t Always Real
Thinking negative things about yourself may “feel” like the right thing to do but remember that your thoughts and feelings about yourself can definitely not be considered accurate.
Your thoughts can be biased and skewed like everyone else’s, and subject to the influence of your moods.
3. Accept Failure as Part of the Process
If you like to beat yourself up whenever you fail, you are in for a steep road ahead.
You will fail, and you will do it many times in your life.
Embrace this as a gift rather than a burden. Try to view failure as more of a lesson learned. Don’t tell yourself you are a failure, tell yourself that you just learned what doesn’t work.
In fact, research shows that Positive self-talk is a predictor of success.
“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, your right” – Henry Ford
4. Change Your Perspective
Sometimes taking a step back and looking at things in the long term can help you to realize that you may be making a mountain out of a molehill.
For example, you may ask yourself if something you’re upset by will really matter in five years or even one.
Another way to shift perspective is to imagine that you are looking at your problems from a great distance away. Think of the world as a globe and of yourself as a tiny person on this globe. This can remind you that most of your worries aren’t as big as they seem.
This can help lessen the negativity, fear, and urgency in negative self-talk.
|Actionable Idea: Write down three aspects of your life you are grateful for. It can be anything you want. Think about your family and other people in your life. Think about your job, home, health, or your pets. Do this daily.|
5. Use Daily Affirmations
You should look for affirmations that fit your current life situation and use these as often as you can.
You should even write them out on a piece of paper or cards and keep them close.
The idea here is to help shift your mind from negative thoughts and program your mind for positive thoughts instead.
You might not believe them in the beginning but the more you keep at it, the more natural it will become.
Over time those negative things you tell yourself will instantly be replaced with your corresponding positive affirmations.
|Actionable idea: Each week find a new affirmation that you can repeat to yourself daily. Affirmations will help you switch your focus from negativity to positivity.|
6. Limit your Exposure to Negative People
As the saying goes – misery loves company. Some people thrive on negativity and enjoy dragging others down with them.
If you cannot avoid them altogether, spend as little time with them as possible.
You already struggle with negative self-talk, so you don’t need them adding more negativity.
If you spend more time with positive people that build you up, your negative self-talk will naturally reduce.
7. Learn to see the Good in People
If you are always thinking negatively of others, it makes sense that you will more naturally think negatively about yourself.
Being more empathetic and open-minded towards others will help you be more accepting of your own flaws as well.
“Judging a person does not define who they are. It defines who you are.” Wayne Dyer
8. Know that Negative Thinking is a Choice
Even though you may have been bombarded with it since you were a child and are hounded by daily negative messages from the media, thinking negatively is something you choose to do.
Positive thinking is just as much a choice as negative thinking.
Choose positive thinking. This isn’t an easy quick fix, it takes a lot of work and practice.
One technique you can use is a process called “thought-stopping”. You can try snapping a rubber band on your wrist, visualizing a stop sign, or simply train yourself to change to another thought when a negative one enters your mind.
|Actionable Idea: Set up a negativity journal and write in it whenever you think a negative thought. Write down all your feelings and if possible, the reasons why you came to that negative conclusion. Then write down the reasons the negative thought ISN’T true.|
9. Strengthen Your Self-Belief
Negative thinking often occurs due to a lack of belief in yourself.
When you strengthen your confidence, it will help you get through those times that bring you down.
You can start this by setting some smaller achievable goals for yourself as well as building up your self-discipline.
Getting a few little wins under your belt will boost your confidence and help you be more positive and hopeful.
To learn more about Self-Acceptance:
Negative experiences do exist for all of us – but negative thinking is a choice.
Learning to change your negative self-talk to positive self-talk is possible using some or all of the tips discussed above.
PS Tired of limiting beliefs and not reaching your potential? I highly recommend this program to achieve the right mental mindset needed to achieve all your desires.
PSS If you have negative thoughts about money, this can help.
Negative Self-Talk – How to Get A Grip on It