We’ve all had them days where we simply just talk ourselves down and make ourselves feel bad and it can be really difficult to set that aside and focus on being positive. We all have an inner critic and at times that little voice can actually be very helpful and keep us motivated and feel like we can get through the tough times.
But on the other hand, it can be extremely negative and more harmful than helpful, this is what’s known as negative self-talk and it can be something that can really take a toll on us and have a huge disadvantage for our mental health. It’s something we all experience even if we don’t reliase it, it’s actually quite upsetting to think that your own mind can talk you down and the impacts it has are torturous and it’s a constant battle.
What actually is Negative Self-Talk?
The thing is with negative self-talk it can come in many forms and can happen at pretty much any time. It could be from avoiding activities due to them being harmful to you, or not pursuing something as a career because you simply ‘think’ you’re not good at anything or you can’t do anything right. So it can stop you doing things that are once in a lifetime opportunities that won’t be dangerous but your brain tells you that it is. It can be downright mean or it can be being happy about a grade to later being like it’s not as high as everyone else’s, or I’ll never go to university now.
It’s that self-talk that you have with yourself that may be making you not believe in yourself and your own abilities, even when you’re doing fine it’ll tell you you’re not. It doesn’t have to be based on what you can and can’t do, it can be to do with your appearance perhaps putting on a bit of weight or changing your hair colour and you like it and everyone else does but then you self-talk yourself into calling yourself ‘fat’ or ‘ugly’ it’s a constant cycle of self-hatred one that can be very hard to push through. It’s anything that doesn’t let you think you can make positive changes in your life, or have confidence in yourself or that you’re good enough. It’s not just stressful, or a way to put yourself down constantly but it’s something that can really ruin your success.
What are the effects of it?
It can affect us in many ways and those being damaging, having mental health-related issues may make this worse. Focusing on negative thoughts may lead to a lack of motivation, feeling helpless, lack of confidence in your future, your body and yourself. It can make you feel like there is no positivity in your life and that anything you do is not good enough.
It can also be to do with perfectionism, you will constantly talk yourself down and compare yourself to others if you feel like what you’re doing doesn’t live up to the illusion of ‘perfect’. It can also lead to feelings of depression and take a really negative impact on your mental health. It can also be telling yourself you can’t do something, the more you’ll believe it. It can impact relationships, with the fact you constantly feel insecure and self-criticise yourself so you think that others will do the same. It can make the other person feel stressed seeing you like that or feel like they’re treading on eggshells.
It’s called negative self-talk for a reason, the reason being it can be extremely damaging. But there is also positive self-talk which is often the case for trying to stop talking to yourself negatively. Your stress levels will increase significantly which is bad for your body as it is.
How can I minimise it?
There are many ways in which you can help yourself try to stop talking to yourself negatively, but it comes with a lot of determination and patience. Remember though some ways work better for different people.
Notice the critic
To enable you to gain control over that inner critic you must be able to be aware of it first. Most of the time it happens so quickly we barely even notice it because the way we think happens so automatically and rapidly. Trying ways to help slow yourself down and pay more attention to the thoughts will help you notice when the critic is there. If you feel significant negative emotions linked to perhaps doubt, guilt, worthlessness or shame are most likely a sign that the critic is there and at work.
Something to try would maybe keep a log and every time you notice yourself being self-critical just write a few words down and write what it is you did that day and then what the criticism was. Once you’re aware of the voice and the criticism it brings then you’ll be able to stand up to it.
Don’t feel silly when it comes to facing the inner voice and talking back to it as it’ll give you the power to talk it away and to let positivity take over. Trying to tell the critic that you don’t want to hear what it has to say gives you a choice in the matter and will help you try to push it away. Keep repeating that you’re choosing to be kind to yourself.
Say it aloud
Most of the time when we catch ourselves thinking about negative thoughts, saying it aloud can help significantly. Telling someone you trust what you’re thinking about, can lead to a glimpse of hope because they know that what your inner critic is telling you is not true. Saying what is being said may make you reliase how stupid and unrealistic it sounds.
Stop that thought
Simply stopping a negative thought from arising is difficult, but it can be extremely helpful. Perhaps when they negative thoughts come along to try and switch it to something else, so perhaps a good memory or something you’re really proud off something positive and something that’ll make you smile. Show that negative thoughts can be stopped by replacing them with positive ones.
Turn the bad into good
A great thing to do and possibly the best one for anyone who’s struggling with negative self-talk is to turn the bad into good. Yes, it’s going to be difficult and may not be the easiest thing you’ve had to do but it’s one that will help you in a tremendous way. Take a negative thought and change it into something that’s going to motivate you but make sure it’s reasonable.
Repeat this constantly, say to yourself ”wow I look good today” or ”that piece of work I did was fantastic” keep speaking to yourself in a positive way no matter how much them negative thoughts try and battle their way through just push them to the side. You’re better than the negative thoughts that take over you banish them away and live a healthier and more positive life for you.
If you’re looking for any online counselling whether you’re a parent and you’re looking for your children, you yourself need it or your a student or anyone that is struggling at this time, then please do not hesitate to contact Becky, you can access contact details here. Check out the website for more information and what there is to offer.