Negative self-talk is much more impactful than your positive, affirming, and uplifting self-talk. All of us have an inner critic that sometimes overpowers our entire thought process. This overpowering can either be good or bad depending on the situation.
None of us are immune from negative self-talk. The happiest people you see around yourself and the most successful of them you have ever met, all of them have gone through their fair share of negative self-talk.
The negative voice of your inner critic affects every dimension of your life. From your mind and body to your life and loved ones, it impacts all of them. While it’s ok to go through occasional phases of negativity as it boosts your motivation to stay on track, excessive negative self-talk can hamper your mental health.
Thus, today we are talking about what you need to know about your inner critic and how to stop negative self-talk.
15 ways for you to stop negative self-talk
Before we dive into learning the steps to stop negative self-talk, let’s understand some basics first:
What is negative self-talk?
Negative self-talk is the harmful voice of your inner critic that gives more power to the thoughts that bring you down in your eyes. It occurs very commonly for all of us. But, too much of anything is never good. This is why excessive negative self-talk leads to everyday stress and other well-being concerns.
The negative self-talk is okay until it acts as your dose of persistence to continue working hard and smart for your goals. It becomes a problem when these negative thoughts stagnate your growth mindset by stopping you from moving on in life. Studies suggest that repetitive negative thinking is a predictor of depression and anxiety.
It’s easy to constantly find yourself in a spiral of negative self-talk and negative thoughts. But, it’s equally difficult to pull yourself out of those thoughts and bring yourself back to your reality.
Constant negative self-talk makes it hard for us to hear anything else. It fuels and empowers wrong thoughts during our weak moments like, “I am not enough”, “I always mess things up”, “I am a big failure”, and more.
These repetitive thoughts become a part of your identity because you believe them to be true. Your negative self-talk in your lowest moments forces you to believe thoughts that are just a part of your bad mood and not your real self.
What causes negative self-talk?
There are days when your negative self-talk will have some or other reasons. But, there will also be days when your inner critic will choose to highlight the negativity of the situation and strengthen your self-doubt, irrespective of its relevancy. Because, sometimes it’s not the stimulus that causes the negative self-talk, it’s just your mood that day.
The human brain is wired to live in scarcity mode and stay under fear. It’s wired for survival. But, when you train your mind to move from scarcity to abundance mindset, it helps you to control your negative self-talk.
Opinions and criticism from people around us shape how we think about ourselves. Any negative memory in your mind can easily trigger those negative thoughts and make you relive the bad part all over again. This builds a bridge between your past and present.
All of these negative instances make it easy for your mind to attach your self-worth to those incidents and make you feel less or unworthy of yourself. But, the onus is on you to not let these thoughts affect you. It is your responsibility to be mindful to separate reality from fictional, toxic thoughts and bring yourself back to your growth mindset.
How do I stop negative self-talk?
The ground rule you will hear from every self-improvement personality is to replace your negative self-talk with positive self-talk. But, let’s face it! It’s not that simple and it’s definitely not easy. The struggle is real, especially when you find it hard to believe the positive self-talk and it seems so easy and real to continue the negative self-talk.
Toxic positivity is as much a reality as negative self-talk. You cannot force yourself or anybody else to be happy. A stronger sense of self-belief and healthy self-esteem can never be forced. You can only cultivate them by improving your relationship with your mind and thoughts.
There is no potion to fix your feelings overnight. Feelings carry the essence of the moment. They just happen. Yes, they become stronger over time. Hence, you can start building a mindset where you choose to appreciate little things in life. You can gradually shift the feelings of negativity to more fulfilled and happy feelings by choosing to improve your thought process.
An improved thought process is the result of the choices you make in life. Two years ago, when I chose to start my career as a full-time freelance writer and blogger, I knew it isn’t going to be an easy path. But, I went for it because I felt called for it. Because I found purpose with it.
And this journey has transformed my life in the most unexpected and beautiful ways. I am more confident. I have goals to accomplish. I am a work in progress because I choose progress over perfection.
My journey as a writer has had a huge impact on my mindset. My perception of life is nowhere near to where I was when I began. It has been a slow transformation and I have enjoyed every bit of it.
Yes, there have been occasional bursts of comparing myself with my peers. But, I have learned to silence my inner critic and not allow my negative self-talk to take over my mind and thoughts.
Thus, here are a few ways in which you can stop negative self-talk, not overnight but over time:
1. Acknowledge the negative self-talk
This is where it all begins. It is important to acknowledge the situations, people, and random thoughts that lead you to negative self-talk. Ignoring them is not an ideal solution. When you find yourself in a vicious spiral of negative thoughts, the foremost step is to acknowledge and accept them.
2. Learn to separate thoughts from your reality
As I mentioned before, sometimes these thoughts have strong roots, other times they just come and go because of a lack of self-confidence. Thus, you must learn to separate which of these thoughts are true in reality so you can improve yourself and which of these have no basis so you can let them go without affecting your self-esteem.
3. Name your inner critic to shut it up
I learned this from one of my mentors and it’s by far the easiest way of them all. Do you remember watching the angel and the devil version of the protagonist’s inner voice in movies? Your inner critic is the devil’s voice, name it. And then shut it up to leave you alone by stating the positive aspects of those negative thoughts. I do this a lot and it helps.
4. Make a conscious decision
These thoughts exist because you let them. Yes, they might arise out of the blue but they sustain because somehow you let them stay ingrained in your minds. Initially, it is difficult to control the negative voices. But, you must choose to confront them and present a counter-narrative that you believe is more powerful, that is the day your progress begins.
5. Control the overwhelm
Giving the power to your inner critic and beating yourself up makes you feel overwhelmed during the negative self-talk. This usually happens after recent failures or other fears. These negative thoughts only amplify those restrictive feelings. Hence, it’s important to just let things be for some time. Just pause and breathe. Let the phase pass, it will get better.
6. Turn the tables linguistically
Your inner critic can sometimes start a trail of negativity. You might get lost in it too. This is when it becomes difficult to stop the negative self-talk. This is when you must harness the power of language to silence negativity by using softer words. For example, change “I hate myself for…” to “I don’t prefer…”
7. Be your best friend
Your negative self-talk is a part of you. You can try various ways to deal with it but you cannot deny it. The more you run from it the stronger it becomes. You can stop your negative self-talk by treating yourself like you would treat your best friend or loved ones. This will also help you to build a healthy relationship with yourself.
8. Journal out the negativity
If you prefer a small circle of people like me but you are hesitant to share your thoughts with them, journaling is the right way for you to stop the negative self-talk. The benefits of journaling are never ending when it comes to self-care. Brain dumping all the chaos in your journal will not only relax your mind but will also improve your self-awareness.
9. Gain a better perspective
I read this somewhere and it makes absolute sense as we talk about the negative self-talk. It goes something like this: “If it won’t matter 5 years from now, don’t let it consume you today.” The next time you have your inner critic getting heavy on you, try this. Ask yourself, “will it matter to you in 5 years from now?” If not, let it go. Don’t allow it to hold you back.
10. Cut the source of negative self-talk
Living in the digital era, sometimes your thoughts are all over the place. The attention span is the lowest in years and the level to compare your lives with others has surpassed all the limits. All of these are great sources of negative self-talk. So the next time your negative thoughts come from a place of comparison, you must know it’s time for a digital detox.
11. Identify what needs to change
This is along the same lines as the last one but it’s about offline life. If you want to stop the negative self-talk and cultivate more optimistic thinking, you must identify what ignites your negativity. Work, family, friends, relationship, what is it? You can approach one aspect at a time to resolve the problem and move towards a more positive thought process gradually.
12. Learn to laugh
This is the easiest yet the most difficult of them to do. Your inner critic is powerful, especially during the tough times, to make you forget about smiling or laughing. Not everyone can laugh at life and find reasons to be happy. If you can do this you are already ahead of a lot of people. Let humor prevail my friend!
13. Consume the right content
Content consumption has become a part of our daily life. You cannot ignore it. But, as they say; “you are the total of the people you surround yourself with.” This equally implies your media content too. Whether it’s news, radio, television, or social media; because they carry information that can impact you either negatively or positively. Choose wisely!
14. Focus on the present
A lot of us suffer from negative self-talk because we are either stuck in the past or are too focused on the future. Being mindful of the present moment is a difficult thing to do, especially with so many distractions at your fingertips. So, the next time your mind wanders into negativity, take a deep breath and remember to bring yourself back.
15. Seek professional help
While all these ways can help, none of them can substitute professional guidance. If your negative thoughts have taken over your life completely, they could point towards something serious. Hence, it is important to draw the line between layman’s advice and professional-backed advice. Don’t hesitate to seek help from a therapist if you need it.
How can I stop talking negatively about myself to others?
Researches say that the human mind has 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts in a day. But that’s not what’s important. The important yet surprising fact is that almost 80% of these thoughts are negative. WOW! That is a serious number about involving in negative self-talk.
Talking negatively yourself to others has a strong hold on your negative self-talk too. You feel bad when others bring you down, but what about the time when you initiate these negative conversations or worst, you don’t stand up for yourself to stop them?
Words hold the power to shift your reality. Because your subconscious mind is continuously listening and abiding by the things you are saying. So if you are talking negatively about yourself, you are giving a signal to your subconscious mind to turn those words into reality.
The basics of shifting this fixed and scarce mindset are to replace the negative statements with affirmative and positive statements or questions. For example:
- It’s very difficult: How can I do it?
- I am so dumb: I choose to understand things at my pace.
- I am a loser: I can win it.
- I am stuck: I am growing
These are just some of the examples. You can build your own versions according to yourself. When you inculcate this practice of choosing positive affirmations instead of talking negatively about yourself, that becomes a significant step towards self-improvement.
To stop your negative self-talk, start today by being more conscious of your thoughts and words. Notice your everyday actions. See whether you are focusing on the negative or positive.
Be mindful of not paying attention to the negative scenarios that your mind paints for you. If you find yourself assuming the worst, stop yourself. Divert your mind by indulging in other activities that make you feel better.
The next time you find yourself having negative self-talk, take a conscious step toward shifting your thoughts to something better. Think about your happy memories. Lead yourself to more affirming thoughts and ideas.
I know this is easier said than done. I have practiced controlling my thoughts over the past two years and I am still learning. Because the truth is, the negative self-talk never truly goes away. We can learn to conquer it by becoming more aware of our thoughts.
And, I am doing it every single day as and when the situation demands. I hope you will do it too. Because sooner or later you’ll understand that you’ll have to do it for yourself. Others can help you by showing the path but it is you who have to walk on it.
I hope this was helpful for you. I’d love to hear your feedback on it. Make sure you leave a comment before you get back to your thing.
I’ll see you soon again!!!