Fighting Negative Self Talk
“I’m never going to be successful”, “I’ll never lose all this weight”, “I might as well quit”…have you heard these thoughts or thoughts like these in your head? Are you realizing that this negative thinking is becoming a problem and is impacting your job, your relationships and your overall mental health?
Many people try to find different ways to break out of this struggle including distractions or ‘drowning their sorrows’ only to later beat themselves up for still being stuck in their negative thoughts. So let’s look at several ways to deal with this problem now before it becomes too devastating in your life.
*Recognize Negative Thought Patterns – These thoughts are unproductive, distracting and serve no real purpose. Recognize them and start making a choice about how you are going to react. The most common patterns are: anxious thoughts/worry, self-criticism, regret/guilt, and not having enough. Many of these cause you to focus on what is lacking in your life, that things will never get better, and your shortcomings. Recognize these thought patterns for what they are, but then set your mind to separate yourself from them.
*Talk Yourself Out of It – Start by distancing yourself from these thoughts. Let’s be honest, you’ll never be able to rid yourself completely of these thoughts, but you can take a step back from them. Distract yourself with physical activity or any activity that will engage your mind. Ask yourself “is that really true?” or “is there another way to look at this situation?” Are there any lessons to learn from this situation that didn’t turn out like you wanted it to? Take the time to talk yourself out of those negative thoughts.
*Try Positive Self Talk – Take a week to commit to implementing positive self talk each day. Instead of saying “I can’t do this”, say “I’ll do the best I can.” Instead of “Everything is going wrong today”, say “I can handle things one step at a time”. This type of talk helps you relieve stress and deal with the situations that cause you stress.
According to Tony Teegarden, a sales and marketing mentor, there is ONE question that stops negative self talk dead in its tracks. Any guesses on what that one question might be?? Here it is…“Would I talk like this to a 5 year old?” So think about that…would you say to a 5 year old “you’ll never be able to do that, you might as well quit”…”don’t you wish you had more?”…”aren’t you worried about what will happen?” Of course not. We wouldn’t talk to a 5 year old like that. A 5 year old, with endless potential, is typically given all the positive encouragement we can give so why not support your “inner 5 year old”. Support yourself, encourage yourself, focus on the potential you have and commit to limit negative self talk in your life.