Negative self-talk is the annoying little voice inside your head. All of us have it.
No matter what you’re doing, there always is a background voice. It’s up to us how we respond to it. Negative self-talk can and is limiting your ability to believe in yourself and to love yourself.
So we better stop it, right? Not so fast…
Excessive negative self-talk does not provide any benefit to anyone.
However, not all negative self-talk is bad, some of it may give you an impulse to better your life.
How To Stop Negative Self-Talk
There is a big difference between unreasonably bashing yourself with things like “I hate myself” “I’m worthless” etc.
As well as thinking about bad things you want/should change about yourself like “I haven’t been eating healthy enough these past days/months” etc.
A few years ago, the negative thoughts playing through my head were a lot worse.
It took daily effort and constantly pushing myself and fighting my comfort zone to be able to stop having negative thoughts, at least not so frequently.
Thankfully, I was able to work around them by experimenting with these actions:
1. Notice When It Happens.
We often get drown in our own thoughts and without even knowing it, it harms our mental and emotional state.
The first step to take is awareness. Work on being aware of your negative thoughts. You may be so used to thinking of them that it seems like a normal thought, but think about the thought is saying, does it seem positive, negative, or neutral?
Figure out what the thought is all about, and what triggered it. Once you are aware of your negative thoughts, you can begin to work on replacing them.
Whenever you catch your mind talking bad about yourself, make a conscious effort to eliminate these thoughts by telling your brain to “STOP”.
By acknowledging these thoughts and actually stopping your brain from having them, is a trick you can practice daily.
You guessed, one of those is negative self-talk.
2. Focus on the long-term
To stop the negative self-talk once and for all, you should focus on the long-term game. Applying the “telling your brain to STOP” trick is a great place to start, however, it’s a short-term fix.
Your goal shouldn’t be blocking out or eliminating the negative thoughts.
Instead, you should be able to have them, acknowledge them, and be at total peace with them. There are two ways of achieving this:
Meditation and especially mindfulness meditation is a great way of achieving total peace with your thoughts.
It is simply watching your breath and just feeling the sensations that come with it, and whenever you catch yourself getting caught up with negative thoughts, you realize it and you bring yourself back to focusing on your breath.
Over time, mindfulness meditation trains your mind to recognize these negative thoughts as a little voice inside your head and nothing more than that.
That little voice is something separate from you. It doesn’t define you, and most certainly, you don’t have to listen to it.
Related: How to overcome a breakup.
When you wake up, write down on a note pad or a notepad app on your phone, how you’re feeling and basically any thoughts that are in your head.
For me, it might be “I don’t have the courage to write an article, I don’t have any motivation”. For you, it might be something like “I’m not good enough and I don’t deserve to be loved”.
Then dig deeper than that.
Ask yourself: “Why am I feeling this way?”
This gives you valuable information to move forward and reframe that feeling/belief.
For the example above, a reason I might feel like not writing an article is that the topic that I chose is not something that I am passionate about.
For you, you might discover that your past ex said to you that you are worthless and that you’ll never find a girlfriend/boyfriend again.
The point of this is not to put you in a depressive state, but instead to motivate you to think about the problem, accepting it, and then try solving it– to take action rather than being stuck in your comfort zone.
By journaling, you’re gonna realize that when you get these thoughts out of your head and into a paper, you’ll feel a sense of freedom.
They no longer are drowning you and hold you back. Instead, you embrace them.
Both of these are great ways you can deal with negative self-talk. But I encourage you to only starting with one and implement it into your daily routine.
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From my experience, focusing on meditation AND journaling will burn you out pretty fast. Stick to one for the beginning, and then consider implementing the other.
5. Talk to yourself as you would talk to a friend.
Remind yourself that you will not talk to yourself any worse than the way you would talk to a close friend who is in the same situation as you.
The best advice I’ve ever heard on this subject.
Let’s take this example: If a friend of yours is feeling down, you wouldn’t talk badly to them. You would likely try to support them, especially if it’s someone you truly care about.
So why don’t you do this to yourself? Why you are hurting yourself while you are already down?
How To Stop Negative Self-Talk – Conclusion
Be gentle and patient with yourself.
Recognize that many of your thinking patterns have been there for years and may take some time to change.
What I have found through personal experience is that making this change needs to become a habit, even more than a simple task.
Day after day you’ll need to face those negative thoughts and then make efforts to reframe them.
I feel like most people don’t do this or give up easily saying “well it’s just how I think, I can’t change it”.
It takes continual effort and most people aren’t willing or ready to put in that kind of energy.
Don’t be those people.