Before proceeding to talk about negative self-talk, how many of us belief in self-talk?
Self-talk is communicating with self, may be verbal or non-verbal. While making some decisions we do self-talk. This may be positive or negative. When a positive feeling is generated as the outcome, making us inspired and happy, it is positive. And when it leaves us sad or gloomy, it is negative. We all do self-talk, whether realizing it or not.
What is negative self-talk?
Negative self-talk is when we are criticizing ourselves. Mainly, when not getting expected results or failing. This is a kind of inner critique, which keeps on criticizing our actions. Reflecting on mistakes is important to avoid repeating them in the future. But, self-realizing is different from negative self-talk. Negative self-talk pushes us into the spiral of negativity. It can never be constructive.
Monitoring what we are talking to ourselves is as much important as our talks with others. The way our bad remarks make others feel guilty, makes our inner self feel bad too.
Why monitor your inner negative self-talk?
Self-talk comprises random thoughts coming to our minds. As per researchers average human brain gets 70,000 thoughts in a day. Really amazing, right!
As our body needs food for survival, so are thoughts for the mind. Bad foods can damage our health in long run, similarly, bad thoughts can. Wrong food may lead to food poisoning and negative thoughts to degraded self-worth.
Negative self-talk puts us in limited thinking, making us underrate our abilities and miss opportunities. Wrong decisions, missed opportunities and low self-esteem, results in depression. Low self-esteem can break our relationships with our loved ones. It is followed by our insecure and negative behavior which is not liked by others.
It is better to identify the negativity and remove it before it takes away our health, wealth and loved ones.
How to recognize negative self-talk?
The repercussions of negative self-talk are very huge, some people had paid for it with their lives. This is not to scare you, but to make you aware of the strength of our enemy. We may not overcome it in a go but constant efforts will definitely help.
Note: If you have a very serious situation and are haunted by the thoughts of committing suicide or have severe depression please consult a psychiatrist or therapist.
Negativity can take any form making you procrastinating and incompetent. Now the question is how we can identify the same. Mayo Clinic has put negative self-talk in four major forms, that we will be talking about.
Personalizing as the name suggests, when you start taking all the blames for every mishappening around you. Always thinking ‘it’s because of me’.
First of all, stop making assumptions, judgments, interpretations, etc. Challenge your thoughts for some proof on these. There may be some coincidence but always you can’t be the reason. Support your thoughts with logic.
Next time when something like this happens just relax, pause and shift your negative thoughts with the positive ones.
In the case of filtering, you magnify the negative aspects so much to oversee the positive ones. Always being pessimistic and seeing the glass half empty.
Start with practicing positive thinking, looking at the plus points of things happening around you.
Out of fear we get into the habit of anticipating bad and worst things for the outcome of any action we take.
Thinking positively about the outcomes and putting logical reasons supporting them, will help. Sometimes situations happen to save us rather than hurt us. Stop judging everything to have a negative outcome. Just remember the dark cloud has a silver lining.
In polarizing the person is stuck between thinking good or bad. There doesn’t seem to be any other color in the world apart from black and white.
You must understand, not everything is an exam or war, that you must win else you will fail. Things happen to us to give us a lesson or experience in life. Learn to appreciate yourself, don’t be too harsh on yourself. If you fail to do something, prepare for the next time and make sure to complete it rather than criticizing and harming yourself.
Nobody else can understand us better than ourselves. Be a positive critique, find your flaws, but motivate and refine you. Understand your weakness and find ways to handle them, to use them as your strength. Don’t get disheartened, people fail lots of times before they reach the pinnacle of their success. Oprah Winfrey was rejected many times before she got her first take.
Combating negative self-talk
Once the positivity will start flowing in your life, negativity will automatically drift away. This will not happen in one go but needs to be practiced until achieved. Meanwhile one can follow the below steps for quickly combating the negativity when it struck.
1. Identifying the negative thoughts
As early you identify negative thoughts creeping into your mind, it would be better. Understand your thoughts, as then only you can stay away or tackle the negative ones. Stop being judgmental about your thoughts, because the feeling of negative thoughts will make you feel low.
2. Distract yourself from negative thoughts
The moment you realize the negative thoughts creeping in, use distraction as a tool. Change your thoughts by some other activities like listening to music, dancing, aerobics etc. This will reduce the impact of negativity. Support yourself with a positive approach.
3. Pump in positive thoughts
Make a habit of pumping in the positive thoughts regularly by practicing appreciation, gratitude, meditation, etc.
Feed your mind with positivity and pamper yourself, this will help in boosting your self-confidence. Having a good and comfortable feeling about oneself is very much important.
4. Find a solution to fight negative self-talk
Distracting will only work for some time, helping us in buying some more time to solve the problem. Finding the root cause and solving will only help in eradicating negativity. Like changing a particular habit or changing the belief about certain things.
Acknowledge your thoughts, validate them to find the right argument and give them a positive form. Take it as a lesson and use it positively.
5. Take actions for combating negative self-talk
Action takers can never suffer as they always make a way out of difficult situations. The initial step to overcoming anything is to begin. Once we know the reason we should take action to amend the same.
6. Spend time with positive people
Being surrounded by positive people helps in overcoming negativity. Your mind will be supplied with positive thoughts. Sharing other’s experiences will help in connecting and understanding your problems better. This will motivate and help in finding solutions to your problems.
We all face negativity in some of the phases of life. All of us have different identities and can never be the same. There is no point comparing two individuals. Our strengths and weakness are different, our goals are different.
Negativity is not a permanent state that can’t be changed, so don’t get disheartened. Remember one thing, nothing is permanent in this world and hence this too can be changed. Always have the right approach in life to attain success.
Finding the right way to tackle will only help in winning over negativity.