Negative self-talk prevents you from getting what you want in life. It limits what you can do, takes away your peace of mind, and stops you from being happy. And, if you’re not aware of it, negative self-talk can also increase your risk of having depression and anxiety disorders.
What is Negative Self-Talk
A lot of us struggle with negative inner dialogue. Whether it’s a self-criticism impacting your confidence, or critical thinking trying to protect you from something, the problem in negative self-talk is that it tricks you into thinking that it helps you do better, when in fact, it gradually holds you back. This harmful habit eats away at your confidence, causes stress, and makes you feel helpless.
How to Stop Negative Self-Talk
1. Understand the psychology of negative self-talk
Many of us have developed a habit of thinking negatively and beating ourselves up internally. We struggle to turn it around because our brains are wired to detect threats for our survival during primitive times. But most of what we see as dangerous today isn’t immediate physical threats to our lives. Everyday stressors like work deadlines or job interviews can be seen as threats. The constant negative self-talk can quickly become a habit, especially if you grew up in a family or are surrounded by people who also always have this toxic thinking pattern.
2. Turn on self-awareness
Learn to recognize the signs of negative self-talk. When you magnify your mistakes, minimize your strengths, expect the worst outcomes, overgeneralize, make decisions within our comfort zone, and label ourselves negatively, these are all forms of negative self-talk. Being aware of your mistakes is different from judging yourself negatively. Stop and take notice of these signs of negative self-talk.
3. Identify your negative thinking structures
A limiting belief is that internal voice that tells you, “It can’t be done” or “I can’t do it.” Anytime you stay within your comfort zone because of fear of failure; there’s a limiting belief hiding in there without you knowing it. Make a list of thoughts that prevent you from moving forward.
4. Reframe your limiting beliefs to empowering beliefs
Take a look at your list of limiting beliefs and turn them into empowering beliefs. An example of a limiting belief is: “I can’t surf because I’m weak.” What you need to do is look for evidence to counter that belief then reframe it externally and internally. Look for surfers who started like you, without any fitness or diet regimen, but learned how to excel at the sport. Then rewrite your empowering belief into: “I can learn to surf. I can take the necessary steps to become fit and strong.”
5. Read your empowering beliefs daily
When negative self-talk is deeply ingrained in you, it may be extra challenging to get it out of your system. Help yourself form a new habit of positive self-talk by reading your empowering beliefs daily. It will remind you to free yourself from false beliefs that have been holding you back.
6. Practice optimism throughout the day
Always look for the good. When faced with problems, focus on the solution and not the worst outcomes. If you find yourself in a difficult or stressful situation, meditate. Meditation will help you focus on the present moment, which is what matters. Surrounding yourself with optimistic people also helps.
7. Practice gratitude every evening
Have a gratitude journal. Every night, write one to three things that you are grateful for. Appreciate what you have. See the good in your relationships, experiences, work, and environment.
Negative self-talk can be unlearned. Replace it with positive thinking patterns.
- Know how your mind works.
- Become aware of negative self-talk.
- Identify your limiting beliefs.
- Turn your limiting beliefs into empowering beliefs.
- Read your empowering beliefs daily.
- Adopt optimism throughout the day.
- Practice gratitude every evening.