Your inner voice can determine how you view life. Your self ­talk is responsible for your dreams and your greatest partner in achieving your goals. How you approach life will determine how happy that life is. Thus positive self-talk begets success while negative talk triggers roadblocks.

It’s true.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Positive thinking doesn’t mean that you keep your head in the sand and ignore life’s less pleasant situations. Positive thinking just means that you approach the unpleasantness in a more positive and productive way.”

So how do we hush the negative voice within? Psychologist Antonis Hatzigeorgiadis, who conducted a study with colleagues at the University of Thessaly, found, “Instructional self-­talk” works best. Motivational speak can help you succeed. Telling yourself “I can do it” will psych you up and keep you on the right track.

Here are 10 strategies that help quiet a negative inner critic:

1 – Name It

Giving your negative thoughts a name, can help you talk to them. This might sound silly but when you humanize your behaviors you can expect human­ type responses.

For instance, if you doubt whether you will get the promotion, talk to your doubts as you would a friend. “George, that’s enough. I know I am qualified, I work hard, and the interview went great. Stop worrying so much and be encouraging while I wait to hear.”

Negative thoughts can be overwhelming. Naming your thoughts gives them less power over you and helps to put the thoughts into perspective.

2 – Change Your Focus

When your negative voice appears, sometimes the best approach is to silence it by changing your focus on to something good. The good will replace the negative and your anxiety and stress levels will decrease.

Taking a few minutes away from something that is creating self­-doubt, can help keep it from spiraling out of control.

3 – Stop Blaming and Start Claiming

A common initial reaction to negativity is to start placing blame. Blaming just fosters the negative voice inside yourself. Claiming responsibility and putting everything into perspective will help quiet the negative voices and put you on a path to creative problem­solving.

4 – Be Patient

Patience can be a struggle when everyone seems to want things yesterday. When you are impatient, you make harsh judgments, rash decisions and give the negative voices room to grow.

Learning to react from a place of calm and contemplation will help create a patient environment for thoughtful action and positive thinking.

5 – Question It

There is no better way to hush the negative voice than by challenging it ­ and you do that with questions. Question it until you get it under control. Use questions like:

So what? Does it really matter and even so, it doesn’t mean it’s true? Who cares? Do I really care about this? Will I care about this in a month? Why not? Why not me and why not now?

And the best question of all time: what’s the worst that can happen? Keep asking questions until the negative voice gives up.

6 – Stop Predicting and Start Anticipating

Many times our negative voice comes by way of predicting results. In order to protect us from disappointment, we often predict the worst-case scenario.

Instead of predicting, start anticipating the results you want to see happen. When negativity creeps in by way of a prediction, change it to a thought of anticipation.

7 – Take Risks

It seems counter­productive to take a risk when trying to counter your negative voice. Risk is scary, right? You might think that by taking a risk, you are opening yourself up to all sorts of negative self­ talk, but the opposite is true.

By taking risks, you are opening your creative mind and realize mistakes will happen along the way. When you take risks, you anticipate challenges. It’s that anticipation that will help silence the negative voices because you are already prepared for whatever it plans to say.

8 – Develop a Ritual

Some people benefit by developing a ritual to handle negative self­speak and you can too. It can include breathing, an affirmation, or even looking out a window. When you hear the voice in your head saying something negative, stop and acknowledge it. Then proceed with whatever ritual speaks to you. The more you practice your ritual, the more habitual it will become.

9 – Set a Timer

When trying to hush the negative voices, most people try just to ignore them. Doing that doesn’t address the issue. Let the voices speak.

Take some time and allow the negative conversation to happen but set a timer. That’s right, time them. Give the negative voices ten minutes to make their argument and when the timer goes off, it’s time to let them go. They said their peace and now it’s time to move.

10  – Practice Gratitude

Negativity and positivity can’t reside in the same space. So what better way to quiet the negative self­ talk than by focusing on the good in your life. Start recalling the things you are grateful for on a particular day. Doing this will help you find the silver­lining in the situation.

Quieting the voices in our head can be challenging at first. With some of these strategies and a little practice, you will be better equipped to challenge them and move on to thoughts that will serve you.