We all know how easy it is to be hurt by the words of other people, but how often do we consider how much we hurt ourselves by using negative self-talk. “I’m too fat”, “I’m useless at Maths”, I’m no good with money”, “I’m a terrible parent”, “I’m not as clever as they are…” The permutations are endless. Most of us can find several things about ourselves that we don’t like or need improving.
However, there is a huge difference between telling yourself that you’re not good at something and then either doing something about it or letting it go, than constantly reminding yourself how bad you are at something and letting it make you miserable. Being stuck in a cycle of negative self-talk will not only make you unhappy, but it can make your feel stressed and at it’s worse make you feel depressed.
Listed below are 5 tips to avoid the dangers of being stuck in a cycle of negative self-talk.
1. Recognise the signs of negative self-talk
Watch out for signs that you’re using negative self-talk. If it is a regular habit, you may not even be conscious of how often you do it. As soon as you start thinking negatively change the record and think about something that is positive.
2. Be honest
If you are always moaning about something, decide whether you really want to do something about it. If you don’t that’s up to you, but then it’s self-indulgent if you keep on moaning about it, even if those moans are only to yourself.
3. Recognise your talents
It’s very easy to get stuck in a cycle of negative self-talk and forget what you are good at. Recognise the talents you have and the successes you’ve had. Don’t say to yourself ‘but others are better than me…”, or “but I should have worked harder…” or anything similar. There should be no but.
4. Avoid off-loading
You may think that it helps to off load your problems with a friend. However, if you just keep talking and don’t make any tangible changes then any relief you may feel will only be temporary. Discuss with friends only if you genuinely want their advice and help to find a solution to any issues. If you’re not prepared to change spend the time with your friend doing something you enjoy.
5. Change” I can’t” into “ I can”
So often when people are stuck in a negative cycle of self-talk – the first thing in their mind or out of their mouths when faced with something new is “I can’t”. If that’s something you do, decide that you’re going to adopt a ‘can do attitude’. That may feel scary, and it may feel unreal, but quite often we surprise ourselves at the things we can do.
Being stuck in a cycle of negative self-talk is destructive, so if you recognise the signs, it’s important that you do something to combat it. It’s easy to be your own harshest critic, but it can be self-indulgent if you’re always moaning or criticising yourself for things that you’re not prepared to change. Avoid the dangers of increased stress and possible by depression, by focussing on the positive, making changes to your life that you want to and adopting a ‘can do’ attitude.
What do you do to avoid negative self-talk?