28 Mar How to Beat the Negative Self- talk in Your Head: a Complete Guide
Throughout your life you are the person you will spend most of your time talking to. We all have the inner voice that keeps us company, rings alarm bells when things are not right and motivates us when necessary.
It is equally normal for this voice to sometimes send you negative thoughts about yourself. Especially when you experience failure. But if you spend most of your time having negative talks about yourself it can become dangerous. This excess negativity you have to deal with most of the time is called negative self-talk. Constantly talking yourself down can have a drastic effect on your life. From increasing your stress levels downright to depression it is important to keep these thoughts to a minimum as much as you can.
If I were to tell you there exists a magic solution to clear away negative self-talk that will be a lie. This is because you cannot command your mind to instantly stop thinking about something. For example, if I asked you right now not to think about monkeys, all you would have in mind is the image of monkeys.
What we can control on the other hand is how we react to the thoughts we have. That is how you can have control over your emotions.
How negative self-talk manifests
Identifying how negative self-talk manifests in your life is the first step to overcome it. You can’t solve a problem if you are not aware of it. Because a lot of our thoughts are processed at a subconscious level, it is easy not to be aware when these negative thoughts pop up. By knowing how to recognize them you can learn how to distance yourself from them. There manifestations of negative self-talk are called cognitive distortions.
1) Black or white thinking
This occurs when you see things either one way or the other. It is either you’re good at your job or bad at it. There is no in between, no room for improvement. This way of seeing things is dangerous as it can limit your evolution in life and cause you to give up quickly.
2) Filter thinking
This is when you focus only on the negative things in your life and forget to appreciate the good moments. Focusing only on the bad moments of your life will only make you more sad and depressed than you already are.
This manifestation of self-talk pushes you to blame yourself for everything that happens. Even things out of your control. You probably think that you are a source of bad luck. This creates a deep sense of unworthiness that cripples you.
4) Guilt tripping
Guilt is a strong emotion to which when you hang on to, can cause great harm. If you constantly feel ashamed of your previous mistakes and punish yourself for them rather than moving on than you are manifesting guilt tripping. You are unconsciously telling yourself that you are a loser and do not deserve the best out of life so you give up on everything.
You catastrophize when you expect the worse out of every situation in your life. Even before trying something new you think it will inevitably fail even when there is nothing pointing that way.
6) Mind reading
Ever found yourself arguing in your mind with someone? Chances are you are minding reading. This is when you convince yourself that the person you are exchanging thinks badly of you without any indication of that. You see every advice as an insult and a way for others to embarrass you. Staying on this thought path can push you to develop an inferiority complex.
How to deal with your negative thoughts
These negative thoughts will always linger around. It is inevitable but to beat negative-self talk, controlling your reaction and interaction with them is what will make the difference for you. Here are practical ways to overcome self-sabotaging thoughts on your own:
1) Distance yourself from your thoughts.
Our beliefs come as a result of the things we learn and experience throughout our lives. These are external factors who affect our choices but do not necessarily reflect who we truly are within. That is why distancing yourself from your destructive thoughts to focus on your true self will help you break free from these self-harming thoughts. A way to realize this is by not internalizing these thoughts when they pop up.
Practicing meditation is equally a great way to distance yourself from all these bad thoughts. Meditation helps you shift your focus from your constantly buzzing thoughts to your vital points. It could be your heartbeat, your breath or the wind blowing around you. This will help you realize that what is more important is to be and feel alive rather than focus on painful thoughts.
2) Oppose your negative thoughts
You can’t chase control when these thoughts appear but nothing says you need to agree with them. Take some time to reflect upon them like an outsider and see if they truly are in accordance with you. Strive to use logic when analyzing that thought. Chances are each time you experience failure you will blame yourself. But once that thought crosses your mind, reply it in your mind and think of other possible outcomes. This will help clarify your role in what happened and then you will see that you can’t possibly blame yourself for everything. When these thoughts pop up think of how you will react if you heard your best friend talk about herself like that. Then tell yourself exactly what you would have told them.
3) Be kind to yourself
We have a tendency to judge ourselves harsher than we do others and so unconsciously. Constantly comparing yourself to others and or setting unrealistic expectations for ourselves is what creates a deep sense of inadequacy with you. I want you to learn how to be more compassionate with yourself. You are not perfect, nobody is so let go and breathe. Each time you feel judgmental about yourself or even someone one else don’t beat yourself up. Rather look at the positive side of the situation. Focus on the feeling that generates in you and hang on to that.
4) Practice gratitude
Keeping track of the things you are grateful for in your life is a great way to chase away negative thoughts and be happier. Living in gratitude makes you more aware of every little success in your life and keeps you in touch with your true self. You can start a gratitude journal where you write down the things you are grateful for every day. When your inner critic comes up you can always read through to remind yourself that your life is not that bad.
5) Learn how to reprogram your thoughts
Our mind filters the world using the lens through which we see our own selves to validate our thoughts. If you tell yourself constantly that you are good for nothing, it will push you not to try and improve yourself. Your mind will only focus on things that will validate the sense you have of yourself. By changing your thought pattern and replacing them with more positive thoughts, you can begin seeing yourself and acting in a more positive way.
This is possible by reminding yourself of your strengths whenever you feel down. This will boost your motivation and distance you from all the negativity in your mind. You need to learn how to be your own cheerleader by appreciating yourself more. Use positive adjectives when referring to yourself to boost your self-confidence.
Beat that small voice in your head by choosing to be happy and living intentionally. Remember those thoughts do not reflect who you truly are. They are just a projection of your fears.
On a personal level, I have had and still have my fair share of negative thoughts but I don’t let them carry me away. I keep the knowledge deep down that I am a good person and above all that I’m going to overcome the pattern. I say overcome because for me it is not just the regular negative self-talk, having been a depression patient I have been to the depths of negative thinking. But I have a tight grip on myself now.
I hope this post helps you!