Negative self-talk impacts your life in more ways than you can ever imagine. Without realizing it, we become our own worst enemies, stripping ourselves of self-confidence and peace of mind. Left unchecked, this lack of positivity in our lives can start affecting our health, leaving us worried and stressed, unable to relax.
Fixing it? This is actually easier than you think. It all starts with positive self-talk and following these six practical steps.
You start by catching yourself in the act. These three steps will put the brakes on negative self-talk before it can gain a foothold:
Write it Down
Keeping a journal is a great way to get a handle on what you’re thinking. Try writing down your impressions of the day before bed. This allows you to let go of feelings that might fester if allowed to run unchecked when you’re trying to sleep. Re-reading those entries later will give you a picture of just where you are. It might be you’ve been more negative lately than you thought.
Just Say “No”
When you catch the negative statements in your head, your job is to stop them before they form. The moment you recognize your self-talk shifting to something less than uplifting, you need to say ‘no’ to it immediately. Say the word “Stop” out loud if you need to.
Psychologists have advised this therapy for years to stop negative thoughts. You simply place a rubber band around your wrist (one that doesn’t fit too snug). Simply snap the rubber band whenever you have a negative thought. Eventually, you’ll find yourself stopping those thoughts automatically just to avoid the ‘punishment.’
Next, try following these three steps to put positive self-talk in action:
Tone it Down
What word can you change in the negative thought to take the sting out? Instead of ‘stupid’ perhaps you were ‘mistaken.’ Instead of ‘slow’ maybe you’re ‘thoughtful.’ By paying attention to your words you’ll automatically start shifting your self-talk to the more positive.
Make a game of it. Every time you hear yourself making a statement in your head, ask yourself if you can somehow reword things to make your words neutral or even positive. See how many of these thoughts you can change.
Instead of listening to negative assumptions, turn them into questions. For example, “That’s impossible” can become “How can I make that possible?” Questions look for solutions while statements are already decisive.
By tracking what you do and acting with intentionality to change the situation, you’ll discover life looks different. You’re feeling more relaxed and can even embrace optimism. You start liking yourself a little more. It’s here where you start discovering the potential you’ve been holding all along.