We all have an inner critic. Sometimes that little voice can be helpful and keep us motivated about goals, like when it reminds us that what we are about to eat is unhealthy or what we are about to do, it may not be wise. However, this voice can often be more harmful than helpful, especially when it enters the realm of excessive negativity. It's called negative self-talk and it can really get us down. Negative self-talk is something most of us experience from time to time, and it comes in many forms. It also creates significant stress, not just for us, but also for those around us if we're not careful. Here's what you need to know about negative self-talk and its effects on your body, mind, life, and loved ones.
What Is Negative Self-Talk?
Negative self-talk can take many forms. It can sound entrenched ("I'm not good at it, so I should avoid trying for my own safety," for example) or it's downright cruel ("I can never do anything right!"). It may seem like a realistic assessment of a situation ("I got a C on this test. I guess I'm not good at math"), but to turn into a fear-based fantasy ("I'll never be able to go to a good college").
The thoughts of your inner critic can be very similar to those of a parent or friend criticizing your past. You can go down the path of typical cognitive distortions: catastrophizing, guilt, etc.
Basically, negative self-talk is any thoughts you have within yourself that limit your power to believe in yourself. It is any thought that lowers your ability to make positive changes in your life or your confidence to do so. Therefore, negative self-talk can not only be stressful, but it can also actually hurt your success.
How to Identify your negative thoughts?
Confused about whether your self-talk is positive or negative? Some common forms of negative self-talk include:
Filtered out: Amplify the negative aspects of a situation and eliminate all the positive aspects. For example, you had a great day at work. He has completed his assignments early and has been praised for his fast and thorough work. That night you focus on your plan to get even more chores done and forget about the compliments you received.
Personalize: When something bad happens, you automatically blame yourself. For example, you hear that a gathering with your friends is canceled and first thing come to your mind is that the change of plan is because no one wanted to be near you.
Catastrophic: Automatically anticipates the worst. The cafeteria makes a mistake with your order and automatically thinks that the rest of your day will be a disaster.
Polarizing: You only see things as good or bad. There is no middle ground. You feel like you have to be perfect, or you are a total failure.
Also, you can hire a professional life coach to partner with you in identify your negative self talk patterns
Consequences of Negative Self-Talk
Negative self-talk can affect us in pretty damaging ways. A large-scale study found that rumination and guilt over negative events were linked to an increased risk of mental health problems.
Focusing on negative thoughts can lead to decreased motivation, as well as a greater sense of helplessness. This kind of critical self-talk has even been linked to depression, so it’s definitely something that needs to be corrected.
Those who frequently engage in negative self-talk tend to be more stressed. Much of this is because your reality is altered to create an experience where you lack the ability to achieve the goals you set for yourself.
Negative self-talk can lead to a decreased ability to see opportunities, as well as a decreased tendency to take advantage of those opportunities. This means that the greatest sensation of stress comes from both perception and the behavioral changes that result from it. Other consequences of negative self-talk can include:
Limited thinking: The more you tell yourself that you are not able do something, the more it will become your reality.
Perfectionism: You start to really believe that “great” is not as good as “perfect”, and that perfection is actually achievable. In contrast, simple high-achieving students tend to do better than their perfectionist counterparts because they are generally less stressed and happy with a job well done. They don’t separate it and try to focus on what could have been better.
Feelings of depression – Some research has shown that negative self-talk can lead to increased feelings of depression. Left unchecked, it could be very harmful.
Relationship challenges – Either constant self-criticism makes you seem needy and insecure or it turns your negative self-talk into more general negative habits that annoy others, poor communication, and even a number of “playful” criticisms they can have adverse consequences.
One of the most obvious disadvantages of negative self-talk is that it is not positive. It sounds logic, but research has proven that positive self-talk is a great predictor of success.
For example, a study of athletes compared four different types of self-talk (educational, motivational, positive, and negative) and found that positive self-talk was the greatest predictor of success. something done as much as it takes to tell yourself that they are doing something right and that others notice it too.
How to minimize negative personal conversations
There are diffrent mechanisms to reduce self-talk in your life. Different strategies work best for different people, so try a few and see which ones work best for you.
How do I overcome and deal with negative self talk?
Hunt your negative self talk
Learn to notice when you are self-critical so you can start to stop. For example, notice when you tell yourself things which you would not say to a good friend or a child.
Thinking negative things about yourself may seem like a canny observation, but your thoughts and feelings about yourself certainly cannot be taken as accurate information. Your thoughts can be biased like all the others, prone to prejudice and the influence of your mood.
Give your inner self talk a nickname
Once upon a time there was a “Saturday Night Live” character known as Debbie Downer. She would find the negative in any situation. If your inner critic also has this questionable ability, you may be thinking, “Debbie Downer is doing her thing again.”
When you think of your inner critic as a force outside of you and even give it a crazy nickname, not only is it easier to realize that you don’t have to agree, but it becomes less threatening and easier to see how ridiculous they are. Some. . of your critical thoughts may be.
Contain your negativity
If you find yourself in negative self-talk, it helps contain the damage that a critical inner voice can do by allowing you to only criticize certain things in your life, or to be negative for only one hour in your day. This puts a limit on the amount of negativity that can arise from the situation.
Turn negativity into neutrality
When engaging in negative self-talk, you may be able to catch up, but sometimes it can be difficult to force yourself to stop a train of thought in your way. It is often much easier to change the intensity of your tongue. “I can’t take it anymore” becomes “It’s hard.” And “Hate …” becomes “I don’t like …”
Examine your inner negative self talk
One of the bad things about negative self-talk is that it is often not questioned. After all, if it is happening in your head, other people may not realize what you are saying and therefore cannot tell you how wrong you are.
It’s much better to pick up on your negative self-talk and wonder how true it is. The vast majority of negative self-talk is overdone, and calling yourself can help eliminate their damaging influence.
Think like a friend
When our inner critic is at its worst, it can seem like our worst enemy. Many times we will say things to ourselves in our heads that we would never say to a friend. Why not reverse that and, when you find yourself speaking negatively in your head, imagine saying this to a precious friend?
If you know you wouldn’t put it that way, think about how you would share your thoughts with a good friend or what you would like a good friend to say to you. It’s a great way to change your general self-talk.
Change your perspective
Sometimes looking at things long term can help you realize that you might be overdoing something. For example, you may wonder if something that bothers you will really matter in five years or even one.
Another way to change your perspective is to imagine that you are examining and observing your problems from a distance. Even thinking of the world as a globe and yourself as a little person in it can remind you that most of your worries are not as big as they seem.
Say it loud
Sometimes when you realize you have negative thoughts on your mind, simply saying them out loud can help. Telling a trusted friend what you are thinking can often elicit a good laugh and highlight how ridiculous some of our negative conversations can be. Other times, you can at least provide support.
Even saying negative self-talk phrases quietly can remind you how unreasonable and unrealistic they seem. This will remind him that he must take a break.
Stop this thought
For some, it may be helpful to simply stop negative thoughts in their tracks. This is known as “stopping the thought” and can take the form of snapping a rubber band on your wrist, visualizing a stop sign, or simply switching to another thought when a negative thought enters your mind. This can be helpful with repetitive or extremely critical thoughts like “I’m no good” or “I could never do this”, for example.
Replace the bad with the good
This is one of the best ways to combat negative self-talk – replace it with something better. Take a negative thought and turn it into something encouraging that is also correct.
Repeat until you need to do it less and less often. It works well with most bad habits – replacing unhealthy foods with healthy foods, for example. It is a great way to develop a more positive way of thinking about yourself and about life.
Final words, identifying and eliminating your negative self talk will ensure better and calm life that improve your wellbeing. Don’t hesitate to book free coaching session with me and let the journey begin!