How to reduce negative self-talk for a better life (2023)

We all have an inner critic. Sometimes that little voice can really come in handy and keep us motivated towards our goals – like when it reminds us that what we're about to eat isn't healthy, or what we're about to do might not be wisely. However, that sound can often do more harm than good, especially when it comes totoo negative.This is called negativehaving a tale, will really let us down.

Negative self-talk is something most of us experience from time to time, and it comes in many forms. It can also create enormous stress, not just for us, but for those around us if we're not careful. Here's what you need to know about negative self-talk and how it affects your body, mind, life and loved ones.

Why are you talking to yourself?

What is negative self-talk?

Negative self-talk can take many forms. It can sound solid (eg "I'm not good at this, so for my own personal safety I should stop trying") or it can sound blunt ("I can never get it right!") . This seems like a realistic assessment of the situation ("I got a C on this test. I don't think I'm good at math"), then evolves into a fear-based fantasy ("I'll never get into a good college" ).

The musings of your inner critic sound a lot like the parents or friends you used to criticize. he can go the typical routecognitive distortion: Disasters, reproach, etc.

Basically, negative self-talk is something I dointern dialogWhat you think about yourself can limit your ability to believe in yourself and your abilities and live up to your potential. all thoughts that inhibit your abilitiesMake positive changes in your lifeOr your confidence in yourself that does this. So negative self-talk is not only stressful, but it can really get in the way of your success.

Consequences of negative self-talk

Negative self-talk can affect us in very harmful ways. Reflection and self-blame over negative events are associated with an increased risk of mental health problems, a large-scale study has found.

Focusing on negative thoughts can lead to decreased motivation and a greater sense of helplessness. This critical internal dialogue is even related todepressive, so it is definitely something that needs to be addressed.

Those who regularly engage in negative self-talk tend to be more stressed. This is primarily because their reality has been changed to create an experience where they are not equipped to achieve the goals they have set themselves.

Negative self-talk can lead to a reduced ability to see opportunities and a reduced tendency to take advantage of them. This means that the increased feeling of stress comes from the perception and the resulting behavioral changes. Other consequences of negative self-talk can include:

  • limited thinking: The more you tell yourself you can't do something, the more you believe it.
  • perfectionism: You really start to believe that "awesome" isn't as good as "perfect" and that perfection can actually be achieved. Pure high achievers, on the other hand, tend to outperform perfectionists because they are generally less stressed and satisfied with a job well done. They don't dismantle, they try to focus on something that could have been better.
  • feeling depressed: Some studies suggest that negative self-talk can make the condition worsefeeling depressed.If it is not checked, this can be quite disturbing.
  • relationship challenges: Whether it's the constant self-criticism that makes you seem needy and insecure, or the amount of criticism you receive turns negative self-talk into a more general negative habit, interrupting others, miscommunication, or even "playing around" do some damage.

One of the most obvious disadvantages of negative self-talk is that it is not positive. It sounds simple, but research showspositive self-talkis an important predictor of success.

For example, one study of athletes compared four different types of self-talk (instructive, motivational, positive, and negative) and found that positive self-talk was the greatest predictor of success.People don't need to be reminded how to do something any more than they need to tell themselves that they are doing something great and that other people are noticing.

How to minimize negative self-talk

There are many ways to reduce self-talk in everyday life. Different strategies work best for different people, so try a few and see what works best for you.

take your critics

Learn to notice when you are self-critical to begin to stop. For example, be careful when you say things to yourself that you wouldn't say to a good friend or a child.

Remember that thoughts and feelings are not always reality.

A negative view of yourself may seem like a pointed observation, but your thoughts and feelings about yourself should never be taken as accurate information. Your thinking can be just as distorted as anyone else's, influenced by prejudice and emotion.

nickname for your inner critic

There used to be a character on "Saturday Night Live" named Debbie Downer. She finds a downside in every situation. If your inner critic has this dubious ability, you might say to yourself, "Debbie Downer does it again."

When you see your inner critic as a force outside of yourself, even giving it a silly nickname, not only is it easier to see that you don't have to agree, it becomes less threatening and it's easier to see , how ridiculous some are. of your critical thoughts may be.

contain your negativity

Engaging in negative self-talk can help reduce the damage your critical inner voice can do by only allowing it to criticize certain things in your life or be negative for just one hour a day. This limits how much negativity the situation can generate.

switch from negative to neutral

You can hold back when you engage in negative self-talk, but sometimes it's hard to force yourself to stop. It is often much easier to change the intensity of the language. "I can't take it" becomes "This is a challenge." "I hate..." turns into "I don't like..." or even "I don't like..."

grill your inner critic

One of the destructive aspects of negative self-talk is that it often goes unchallenged. After all, if it's happening in your head, other people may not realize what you're talking about and therefore not be able to tell how wrong you are.

It's best to take your negative self-talk and ask yourself how real it is. The vast majority of negative self-talk is overkill, so calling yourself out can help undo its harmful effects.

think like a friend

When our inner critic is at its worst, it can sound like our worst enemy. We often end up saying things in our heads to ourselves that we would never say to our friends. Why not turn it around – when you find yourself speaking negatively in your head – be sure to imagine saying that to a dear friend.

If you know you won't say this, think about how you would share your thoughts with a good friend, or what you would like a good friend to say to you. Overall, this is a great way to change your self-talk.

change your point of view

Sometimes taking the long view can help you realize that you might be taking something too seriously. For example, you may wonder if what you were upset about will really matter five or even a year from now.

Another way to change perspective is to imagine yourself analyzing and examining your problem from a distance. Even imagining the world as a globe and you as a small person on that globe can remind you that most of your worries are not as big as they seem. This often downplays the negativity, fear and urgency of the negative self-talk.

say it out loud

Sometimes when you get negative thoughts in your head, it helps to talk them out. Telling a trusted friend what's on your mind usually gets a good laugh and lets you know how ridiculous some of our negative self-talk is. At other times, it can at least provide support.

Even whispered negative self-talk phrases can remind you how unreasonable and unrealistic they sound. This will remind you to take a break.

stop that thought

For some people, simply stopping negative thoughts can help. This is called a "thought stop" and can take the form of wrapping a rubber band around your wrist,visualizationA stop sign, or simply changing another thought when a negative thought enters your mind. This is helpful for repetitive or overly judgmental thoughts such as "I'm no good" or "I'll never make it".

replace the bad with the good

This is one of the best ways to combat negative self-talk: Replace it with something better. Take a negative thought and turn it into something just as accurate and encouraging.

Repeat until you feel like you need to do fewer and fewer repetitions. This works well for most bad habits: for example, replacing unhealthy food with healthy food. This is a great way to develop a more positive way of thinking about yourself and life.

Press Play for advice on negative thinking

This episode is hosted by LCSW editor-in-chief and therapist Amy MorinPodcast Verywell MindShare a powerful method to help you suppress negative thoughts. Click below to listen now.

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