Everyone experiences negative self talk, even the most confident people. It is detrimental to your wellbeing, however, and you should work to achieve positive thinking, instead.
The negative self talk is what is happening when you are judging, doubting, or belittling yourself. It’s when you are telling yourself you aren’t good enough or that you always mess everything up. Usually, these thoughts you think about yourself are ones you’d never say to anyone else.
You have to remember that every thought you have about yourself affects your life. Regardless of whether it is good or bad, it will play a factor in determining your next steps. It will cause you to give up or hold back, preventing achievements and goals from being accomplished.
Not only that, but negative self talk can also cause depression, anxiety, or other mental health disorders. When you are hostile toward yourself, you won’t accomplish as much as if you were optimistic. Your thoughts are what you become, so you should always strive for positive thinking.
The Effects of Negative Self Talk and Positive Self Talk
Effects of Negative Thoughts
Some of the impacts of negative self-thoughts were already discussed, but there are more. Some of them include:
- weakening of muscles
- increased stress levels
- your hormone levels change
- gastrointestinal and digestive problems
- increased heart rate
Effects of Positive Thinking
The results of thinking positively are much better than those of negative thinking. These effects include:
- improved coping skills during stressful times
- a longer life span
- decreased chance of depression
- less stress
- increase in the immune system functioning
- better overall wellbeing
- cardiovascular health
When your body is put through less stress and negativity, you tend to be healthier. Since stress causes the heart to weaken, you have less chance of developing heart disease if you are positive.
How to Stop Negative Self Talk
1. Recognize When You are Doing it
The first step to stopping negative self talk is to recognize when you are doing it. Often, we don’t even notice what we are thinking about as we go about our day. You must consciously keep track of your thought process to recognize and stop it as it’s happening.
One way to recognize this negative thought process is by looking for feelings of guilt, shame, doubt, or worthlessness. When you are experiencing these emotions, you are likely to engage in negative thoughts again.
Once you can regularly recognize when it occurs, you can figure out the situations it most often happens in. Keep track by writing down each time you have the negative self talk and what appeared to make it happen.
2. Replace it With Positive Thinking and Positive Self Talk
Once you have acknowledged the negativity, replace it with positivity. Anytime you realize you have a negative thought, replace it with a positive view about yourself. Starting paying attention to the good things about you rather than the wrong things.
If you get used to consciously changing your thought process to be more positive, it’ll begin to become a habit. You will start to recognize the positives automatically, and you’ll have better thoughts about yourself.
The way this works is simple. When you always tell yourself you are no good, you will subconsciously focus on all the mistakes you’ve made. Likewise, when you always tell yourself you are right, you will begin to focus on the good things you do.
An easy rule to remember is to talk to yourself the way you speak to others. If you would not say it to someone else, you shouldn’t say it to yourself. Lift yourself in the way that you lift others.
3. Figure Out Areas for Improvement and Think About the Cause
This point relates to number one when you recognize and keep track of when you notice negative self talk. When you consistently do that, you will be able to figure out which areas of your life need improvement. If you are unhappy in a particular situation, figure out how you can change it.
This isn’t to say you should walk away from a job or relationship because you are unhappy. It could be all about changing your perspective of the situation. Find which parts of it make you tick and then find a way to make those things better.
4. Find a Reason to Laugh or Smile
Laughing and smiling are sure ways to help you with positive thinking. This is especially important when you are in the midst of negative thoughts. Find something that makes you laugh–and then do that every time you feel you need some positivity.
This could be spending time with a loved one or friend who always cracks jokes. You could also put on a stand-up comedy show on TV or read a funny book. Whatever options you choose, make sure you are genuinely laughing and smiling.
5. Be Active
You’ll be surprised to know that exercise and an active lifestyle can lessen negative self talk. If you exercise for around 30 minutes each day, your mood will be positively improved. It can also help you manage your stress, helping with less negativity in that way, as well.
If intense exercise isn’t for you, there are other options. You can take a light jog or take a walk around your neighborhood a couple of times. Another option is to do yoga, which helps you relax while exercising.
When you are surrounded by negative people, you’ll wind up being negative, too. If you want more positivity in your life, you have to surround yourself with positive people. They will be supportive and be there for you positively, whereas pessimistic people will only make your negative thoughts worse.
If you can’t be around positive people all the time, surround yourself with positive energy. This boost could be an uplifting playlist or a good book that makes you happy. You could also try a positive movie or podcast.
7. Take a Moment to Breathe
Sometimes taking a break to do some deep breathing can help you reel in your thoughts. Frequently when you become overwhelmed, and the negative thinking begins, it’s because you are overwhelmed. Other times it’s because you have made a mistake.
No matter what the cause is, breathing is likely going to help. It will help slow your heart rate, which will make you calm and help you think clearer.
8. Stop Striving for Perfection
No one is perfect, and you can’t hold yourself to that standard. If you try, you’ll only set yourself up for failure and negativity. Give yourself the same bit of grace that you would show to others and judge your work in the same way you consider theirs.
Imperfections happen, and things can never be completely perfect. Embrace the imperfections and keep moving forward while reminding yourself that you are healthy and capable. Once you stop trying to be perfect, you’ll be happier and have more positive thoughts.
9. Create a Routine
If you have a routine in place, you’ll move through your day with less thought. It will take less energy and less stress, and you won’t feel like you forget anything. You will arrive at places on time, get your work done on time, and never feel like you are behind.
When you can work in this continuous way with minimal stress and thinking, you’ll have fewer negative thoughts. It will prevent you from overthinking and criticizing yourself or your work.
10. Stop Thinking the Worst Possibility Will Happen
When you always think the worst will happen, the negative thinking will set in quickly. You will convince yourself that the worst is the only possibility, even though that is far from the truth.
If you always think you’re going to be fired from your job, you’ll still be thinking of your shortcomings. Conversely, if you tell yourself daily that you are great at your job, you’ll think about your strengths, instead.
Remember that you can’t predict the future, and thinking of the worst-case scenario isn’t healthy. It will only hinder your growth and cause a feeling of worthlessness.
Negative self talk is severely detrimental to your mental health and your goals. You won’t be able to achieve your goals if you are always telling yourself you are incapable or unworthy. Remember that you are healthy and can do anything you set your mind to.
When you are having trouble with positive thinking, remember these tips for banishing the negativity. Take a few moments to breathe–then consciously change your thought process.
Spend more time thinking about what you are good at and what you have already accomplished. In turn, you will spend less time thinking about your shortcomings and failures. By doing this, you’ll be able to banish the negativity and think more clearly and realistically.