Let me ask you a question. Would you speak to a good friend the way you talk to yourself? Do you ever get sick of the constant negativity you hear in your head? Many of us have dealt with some sort of negativity our entire lives starting during childhood and continuing throughout our adulthood.
Whilst this is a pretty normal part of life that we all have to deal with, too often we get locked in this cycle of negative thoughts. These thoughts lead us to talk to ourselves in a negative manner. We berate ourselves. We call ourselves names and put ourselves down before others can do so.
In fact, negative self-talk is one of the most limiting behaviours one can deal with. Use these tips to help overcome it.
How to stop negative self talk
1. Distinguish between negative thoughts and critical thinking
We need to have a certain amount of self-criticism, otherwise, we will never believe that we are doing something wrong. However, you need to recognize when that criticism becomes negative self-talk. When you can distinguish between these, you will be better able to take control of your thoughts. You may even be able to use your negativity to further your goals – yes it’s possible.
2. Accept failure
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.
3. Repeat daily affirmations
You should look for affirmations that fit your current life situation. Use these as often as you can. Try repeating these affirmations every day. You should even write them out on a piece of paper and keep them close. The idea here is to program your mind for positive thinking. The more you keep at it, the more natural it will become. Ideally, those negative things you tell yourself will eventually be taken over by your positive affirmations.
4. Limit your exposure to people who are negative
These 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.
5. 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 open minded towards others will help you be more accepting of your own flaws as well.
6. Negative thinking is a choice
Even though you have been bombarded with it since you were a child, thinking negatively is something you choose to do. Conversely, 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. …so start now!
7. 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.
Actionable steps to help stop negative self talk
#1 Each month find a new affirmation that you can repeat to yourself daily. Affirmations will help you switch your focus from negativity to positivity.
#2 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.
#3 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 or your business. Repeat this as often as possible. Much has been written about the power of gratitude. It’s free so it’s worth a try.
1. What to Say When You Talk to Your Self by Shad Helmstetter
2. Talk to Yourself Like a Buddhist by Cynthia Kane
3. Enough: Silencing the Lies That Steal Your Confidence by Sharon Jaynes
4. 365 Days of Positive Self-Talk by Shad Helmstetter
5. Me, Myself, and Lies: What to Say When You Talk to Yourself (for young women) by Jennifer Rothschild