Overcoming Negative Self-Talk: Useful Insights
We all have good days as well as those that we wish could be better. However, regardless of what you are going through, negative self-talk does not help and can have severe consequences.
Of course, everyone has that inner critic — the little voice that can sometimes keep us motivated and self-driven. The inner critic can caution us when an action is inappropriate or unwise. However, in some cases, the inner voice is harmful, mainly through constant negativity.
Negative self-talk can create considerable stress, not just to you but also to your loved ones. The good news is that there are strategies you can use to stop negative self-talk. Here’s what you need to know and when to consider online therapy.
What Is Negative Self-Talk?
Negative self-talk means inner dialogue you can have with yourself, which could limit your capacity to believe in yourself and your capabilities. These are thoughts that diminish people’s power to make positive changes in their lives or their confidence.
Although seeking ways to improve is always a good thing, there is a big difference between self-reflection and negative self-talk. Unlike reflection, which is constructive, negative self-talk is not motivating.
Negative self-talk can start small, such as by picking those things you don’t like about yourself. The thoughts of your inner critic may sound like a critical guardian, parent, or friend from the past. Failure to identify and address negative self-talk can lead to anxiety and, in some instances, self-loathing.
Some notable consequences of negative self-talk include:
- Perfectionism — nothing is ever good enough
- Limited thinking — you tell yourself you don’t have what it takes to do things
- Depressive feelings — unexplained sadness for prolonged periods
- Relationship problems — self-criticism can make someone insecure and needy and can worsen relationships
How to Stop Negative Self-Talk: Useful Tips
Human life is full of challenges, some of which are outside our control. Socioeconomic factors, unforeseen events, and emergencies tend to shape who we are and our worldview. While there are things we cannot change, we have power over our thought processes.
Life these days is already challenging, and you don’t need to make things more complicated by being overly critical of yourself. Practice self-love and self-compassion. Give yourself a break as negative self-talk can do severe damage, sometimes invisible.
Here are some ways to deal with negative self-talk.
Learn to Relax
One of the main reasons why people become too critical of themselves is because they feel overwhelmed. Maybe you have tried doing something recently and failed, or you feel anxious about an issue. In those moments when you feel pressured and burdened, pause and breath.
Slow and deliberate breaths will help with calming you down and stabilizing your heart rate. In the process, you will be able to get some sense of clarity.
Acknowledge the Negative Self-Talk and Name It
Negative thoughts can be exhausting. When you feel yourself starting to spiral into negative self-talk, recognize them. Ignoring these thought processes will not help you much. Of course, admitting your self-doubts can be difficult. However, you need to recognize the negative thoughts to be able to confront them.
It could also be helpful to give your inner critic a nickname. Any time you feel your inner critic taking over, you can talk to your inner self. When you start thinking of your critic as a force outside of yourself, it will be less threatening. You will also be able to see just how ludicrous some of your inner thoughts are.
Consider Guided Meditation
One strategy you can use for changing negative self-talk is guided meditation. After going through trauma, depression, stress, or having low self-esteem, most people’s sense of self-worth tends to decline considerably. You may start looking at yourself as not deserving of love or care.
Studies show that meditation is an effective way of coping with mental health issues and building a sense of self-worth. When you meditate, you learn to focus on your breath without being judgmental. Your reference point here is breathing. By narrowing your focus, you will be able to be free from self-judgment.
Through meditation, you can gradually and organically start to distance yourself from the negative thought processes. The criticisms and emotions will not appear so real and threatening. Meditation allows you to identify negative thought patterns so that you can distance yourself from them and stay present at the moment.
Try to Understand the Cause
To be able to eliminate the negative self-talk, try understanding its origin. Do you feel afraid, or does self-talk relate to self-doubt? Maybe you have experienced a challenging event in the past that messed with your self-confidence. Or are you feeling the symptoms of depression?
Before you can eliminate negative self-talk, you should explore and try to understand the underlying factors. Confront these causes to be able to eliminate your negative thoughts.
Chances are, those fears are only in your head and are not as threatening as they seem. You’re good enough, and everyone fails sometimes, and the only way to improve yourself is through deliberate effort.
Stop Striving for Perfection
One of the main reasons for negative self-talk is unreasonable expectations. Don’t expect to be perfect in everything you do, especially when you are just getting started. You may fail several times before you can get it right, it’s perfectly okay.
If you have failed in the past and have to start over, or you are experiencing self-doubt, understand that failing is part of progress. After all, no one is perfect. Accept your flaws and learn from your failures.
Learn to Take a Step Back
Sometimes, you will feel overwhelmed and will need a break. Treat yourself as the dearest person in your life and support yourself with care. From time to time, you will need to take a step back and practice self-compassion. This will allow you to keep things in perspective and give yourself the support you need.
Consider Keeping a Journal
Journaling can be an effective way to keep things out of your chest and destress. Keeping a journal also helps you to remain self-aware. You may not be challenging your negative self-talk because you are not aware of its existence. However, writing your thoughts and feelings down can help with this.
Embrace Positivity and Follow a Routine
Surrounding yourself with people and things that give you energy and motivation can be suitable for stopping negative self-talk. It allows you to see things from a more positive outlook. You can also distract yourself by listening to music that puts you in the mood to get moving. Maintain contact with your social support.
When to Seek Professional Help
Making a conscious decision to regulate negative thoughts is essential for your physical and mental health. The tips provided here can help, but some situations require support from a licensed therapist.
If your negative self-talk becomes persistent or starts to interfere with your daily life and functioning, then it could be a sign that you need professional help.
The good news is that thanks to online therapy, you don’t need to travel far to engage a therapist. Teletherapy platforms like Calmerry provide access to convenient and affordable support from a counselor.
Take care of yourself and improve your well-being!
Jennifer Walter is a psychology professor, an independent researcher, writer, and contributor. He is the guru to hundreds of students, the author of hundreds of analysis studies, and the voice behind most liked articles on content creation and strategy at privatewriting.com .
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