We all deal with negative self-talk from time to time. While our inner voice is sometimes the one that keeps us motivated, at times it can also be the one that brings us down. For some people, negative thoughts represent 85% of the thoughts they have during a day.
Negative self-talk can appear in many forms, from excessive worrying and overthinking to constantly criticizing yourself. It represents the dialogue you are having inside your head and that prevents you from believing in yourself and takes away your ability to see the positive things in your life. This negativity is extremely harmful and it can significantly increase your anxiety or even lead to depression. Plus, not only does it affect you but also those around you.
So how can you put an end to negative thoughts?
Start by following these next tips:
1. Try Breathing Exercises
Negative self-talk often happens because we feel overwhelmed. In this situation, it can significantly help to just slow down and breathe.
Try the following exercise: inhale deeply and slowly through your nose and exhale through your mouth. As you breathe out, try to purse your lips as if you’re trying to whistle. Repeat this exercise as many times as you feel the need to. This will help you relax and slow down your heart rate.
You can also try to practice mindful meditation. This practice will help you reduce stress and anxiety. Find a comfortable position, close your eyes and focus on your breath. Whenever you get distracted by your thoughts, just return to your breath. For more tips on how to get started with meditation, check out this article.
2. Acknowledge Your Thoughts
While it might be tempting to try to ignore the negative thoughts for as long as possible, you won’t be able to stop them by avoiding them.
The first step to control these thoughts is to acknowledge them. Then, try to analyze them. What causes them? Why do you lack self-confidence? Do you feel afraid? Consciously noticing them will make it easier for you to determine when and why they appear. Take the time to analyze what determined you to have doubts and other negative thoughts and then confront them.
It is also essential to acknowledge the fact that you are not your thoughts. Once you realize this and separate your identity from your negative thoughts, it will be much easier to get rid of them.
3. Surround Yourself with Positive Things
What gets you in a good mood?
Whether it’s some music, watching your favorite TV show, or meeting some friends, try to surround yourself with things that make you happy. Furthermore, try to find things that motivate you. For example, you can try reading inspirational books or listening to podcasts. Also, you can start practicing affirmations that remind you of your worth. And, most importantly, don’t forget that you don’t have to go through this alone. Sometimes a good friend can significantly boost your mood or help you feel motivated. Therefore, don’t hesitate to reach out to them whenever you feel the need to talk.
4. Write It Down
Sometimes the best strategy to get rid of negative thoughts is to see them from a clearer perspective. Journaling can be a therapeutic process, as it helps us calm down, see things from a fresh perspective, and better analyze our thoughts and feelings. Plus, it helps us manage anxiety and reduce stress.
Therefore, pick up a notebook and try to take notes every time you experience negative thoughts in the next couple of days. By doing this, you will begin to eliminate negativity from your mind. Plus, going back to the notes will help you identify patterns and determine what triggers the negative self-talk.
6. Be Kind to Yourself
Start treating yourself the same way you would treat a close friend.
Whenever you feel like criticizing yourself, think about the following question: would you say this to your friend if they were going through something similar? The answer is probably no. Then why do you say it to yourself? Acknowledge that you would never condemn a close friend for the same things you condemn yourself for. Furthermore, you would even try to encourage them and make them feel better about themselves.
Therefore, start doing the same thing for yourself. Treat yourself with kindness and acknowledge the fact that even if you are not satisfied with your current progress, the best way to evolve is by being happy and motivated.
Stop allowing inner criticism to limit you and prevent you from living a happy life. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that criticizing yourself will help you do better because negative self-talk is never beneficial. Instead, motivate yourself by maintaining a positive mood and by being kind to yourself.
The Bible tells us….
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. ~ Romans 12:2
How do you handle negative self-talk? How do you keep motivated? Let’s discuss this in the comments below!