Every single one of us falls prey to negative self-talk and thoughts every now and then. For some of us, this can be a truly limiting factor in our joy and happiness. Negative self-talk can decrease self-worth, confidence and overall happiness, to name a few. Left unchecked, negative self-talk can do some serious damage to our mental health and the way we perceive ourselves. So how can we avoid and overcome that negative voice in our head?
Awareness over our internal voice and negative self-talk
The most important factor at play is awareness. Awareness over the fact that you are talking to yourself in a negative way. Why is this so important? Because most of us don't think about how we talk to ourselves and the effects this has on our mental wellbeing.
Simply becoming aware of your inner voice can already do wonders for you. It has been proved again and again that self-awareness can autocorrect many negative behaviours we fall prey to, including negative self-talk.
The key is to realize when you are negatively portraying a situation in your mind without judging yourself for doing so. Otherwise, this becomes completely counterproductive and toxic.
Simply try to recognize when you are being negative. That's it. Sounds easier than it might be, but with enough practice you will get a lot better over time. Meditation obviously helps tremendously with this, as it teaches you to become much more self-aware.
Don't believe everything you think
Now that you gained some more awareness over your internal voice and the way you talk to yourself on a daily basis, it's time to challenge that voice: Is what you are telling yourself actually true? Are you not being overly negative? Are you harsher on yourself than you would be on others? Have you considered the silver lining of the situation you are dealing with?
Asking those kinds of introspective questions is a great way to learn to be more critical of your internal voice and self-talk. It does not mean that you will never have negative thoughts and ideas anymore, but it teaches you that not everything you think is to be believed without challenging those thoughts first.
Reframe negative self-talk
Another great way of dealing with negative self-talk is to reframe the situation into something more constructive and useful to deal with. There is no use in putting yourself down with negative thoughts, regardless of how bad you think the situation is. Instead, try to come up with a few ways in which the situation might be better than you first thought it was. (see example below)
Learn to let go of negative self-talk
Now that you are in the habit of challenging your negative self-talk, you can start to let go of the negative thoughts that still remain, but that do not serve you anymore. Let me give you an example.
My coworker was unnecessarily rude to me earlier. What did I do to derserve that? Something must be wrong with me today.
(negative self-talk. Notice how the first sentence may be true, but the other two are projections of your negative thoughts)
Wait a minute, I'm being overly negative. Let me take a step back and not read into this too much. This won't matter in an hour anyways.
(Awareness over negative self-talk + reframe)
I have spend enough time and energy worrying about this situation. I am ready to let this go forever.
This is just a simple example, but it shows the power of awareness and letting go of negative thoughts and impulses. The above example may seem really silly and straightforward, but don't underestimate the urge of your mind to read into a situation more than neccesary: This happens ALL the time.
Our mind is literally wired to always be on the lookout for potential dangers. Not only physical ones, but also social incongruences. It takes a good amount of willpower and control over your mind to let go of these kinds of situations. The best way to get better at this? Meditation. (duh)
By practicing meditation, you learn to cultivate greater awareness over yourself, to stop identifying with your internal voice and to let go of situations and emotions that do not serve you. The best meditation to learn this would be no-mind meditation.
If you want my personal help on your journey towards finding inner peace and happiness, and to end negative self-talk, then book a quick call with me during which we will take a look at your personal situation together and we will come up with a custom plan on how to move forward to achieve the inner peace you so deserve. Talk soon! If you have any questions or remarks, make sure to leave a comment below!
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Thomas V is the founder and executive coach of Thomas V coaching and has been meditating practically his whole life. He is a fully certified meditation coach and practitioner. He is now on a mission to get as many people, mainly busy entrepreneurs, to meditate too, and enjoy the endless benefits it provides for body, mind and soul. By applying a science-based approach to meditation, Thomas can ensure amazing results for his clients, time and time again. If you would also like to enjoy the benefits of a well thought-out, science-based meditation habit, feel free to schedule a free video call here.