Eliminating Negative Self-talk

negativity personal growth self-esteem Feb 09, 2023

Negative self-talk is a problem that some of us face. Unfortunately, it can harm our mental health and make us feel worse about ourselves. This blog post will discuss eliminating negative self-talk and improving our mental health.

Talking negatively about yourself can harm you.

Sometimes, you may find yourself talking to yourself, but it only happens in your mind. It's called self-talk, which pertains to your thoughts about yourself. It can either be positive or negative. When self-talk is positive, you may affirm by thinking that you can do things and think about future events optimistically. Negative self-talk is problematic, though. You may become self-critical and think you are to blame for problems happening in your life. You may also often think about the worst-case scenarios and limit yourself by thinking you can't do things. It's normal to doubt yourself and have your inner critic say something negative about yourself, but when this becomes habitual, you may want to do something about it. The prolonged negative self-talk that turns into a habit can lead you to often negative thoughts, which may cause mental health problems like depression and change your outlook in life into negativity. Therefore, if you care for your emotional well-being and want to look at life in a more positive way, it is essential to do some things that can help challenge negative self-talk and possibly change or remove the habit altogether.

1. Develop awareness about the little voice inside your head

If you want to control the negative thinking that you have in your head, it is vital that you first develop awareness that you are doing it. When negative self-talk has become a habit, it may be challenging to recognize that you are saying negative things to yourself since the activity is almost automatic. Therefore, being aware that you are doing it will help you start doing something to control it or counter it with positive self-talk. Recognize the times and situations when negative self-talk phrases pop up in your head and try to stop your inner voice from finishing the negative thing it is about to say to yourself.

2. Treat your critical voice like a different entity

An excellent way to control your behavior of talking negatively about yourself is to treat your inner voice like another person or entity. By doing this, you disassociate it from your identity, and you can approach your inner critic like it's another individual you can talk to and reprimand. So the next time something negative or critical is about to pop up inside your head, speak to it like it's a person criticizing you and tell it to stop. Address it like there's a person in front of you that you can talk to and change what they are about to say.

3. Treat yourself like a friend or person you don't want to hurt by saying something negative

An alternative approach to controlling negative self-talk is to treat yourself as one of your trusted friends or family members whenever you are about to engage in self-criticism again. You don't want to say anything that can hurt the people your trust and love, and by treating yourself as one of them, you may condition your mind not to say anything that can hurt yourself. So whenever a negative thought is about to appear, think about what you don't want to tell others and do the same for yourself.

4. Do not focus only on the negative

Negative self-talk tends to emphasize the negative and makes you focus only on what can go wrong and the bad aspects of your life and identity. An excellent way to counter this is by having a more open mind so you can start focusing on the other side of things, the positive things that can happen, and your strengths. Negative self-talk narrows your vision and focuses by limiting you to only the negative things in life. Still, by opening your mind more, you will start considering other perspectives and widen your vision to include the good things that also happen, preventing you from only saying the negative things.

5. Take care of yourself and stay healthy

There can be a stronger tendency to have negative thoughts when you don't take care of yourself and your health is generally not okay. In addition, your mood may lower when you are often stressed and don't regularly exercise, eat healthily, or sleep well. So it is essential to take care of yourself and ensure you do healthy practices to keep your mind and body in good condition. When your body and mind are both doing okay, your thoughts will be more likely to be positive, so you can avoid becoming overly critical of yourself and thinking about negative thoughts.

6. Try to practice positive self-talk

If you are already aware that you often talk negatively about yourself, you can try replacing the negative statements inside your head with positive ones. For example, if you are prone to thinking you can't do something, doing self-blame for something you are not entirely responsible for, or saying harsh things about yourself, try replacing them with positive ones or at least tone down or make the statements more neutral. Use some positive psychology and think instead that you can at least give something a try or think you can do it, analyze a situation deeper by looking at the bigger picture, or uplift yourself by saying something that can boost your confidence.

Control your thoughts

Self-talk is mostly thoughts that form in our heads, but they don't necessarily paint a complete picture of the situation. Some of these thoughts are based on our experiences and honest assessment of ourselves, and many are only assumptions of what can happen, which may lead to unnecessary worrying. When we ponder too much about the future, self-talk may occur more frequently, especially negative ones. It can help to stick more with the present moment and focus less on the what-ifs and more on what you can do now. It can also be good to ask for the opinion of others about what you think so you can check if your thinking is correct, including how you see yourself. Try not to concentrate only on your thoughts and see how situations occur from a bigger perspective. Always remember not to be too harsh on yourself and practice some self-love.

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