Negative self talk! Why have we all fallen victim to this nasty state of bringing ourselves down? Let’s get one thing clear, self-talk isn’t just mindless chatter spiraling around in your head. It has a way of creating its own reality. Telling yourself you can’t do something can make that come true. Tell yourself you’ll never lose weight and it can be like eating a box of doughnuts. Tell yourself it’s too hard to find a new career and you will be likely to continue the cycle of disliking your old job and stay within that exact rut.
“Self-talk dictates how you relate to yourself and how you show up for other people. Let’s say you think you have nothing interesting to say. If you keep telling yourself that, other people are going to see you that way too.” – Franco Beneduce
People who think negatively tend to be less outgoing and have weaker social networks than positive thinkers. Multiple studies link positive emotions with more satisfying relationships, more romance and even lower rates of divorce and separation.
The more you focus on negative events or shortcomings, the harder it is to put them behind you. In a survey of 231 college students, those with a positive outlook in life were more likely to look back on negative events and report how much better things are for them now. There are lessons in every challenge and an opportunity for growth. Acknowledge a bad day as just that, a bad day, don’t allow a certain event, conversation or let down determine your happiness.
If negative self-talk came with an off switch, you could just flip it off and be done with it. But it doesn’t. It takes a plan and some work to tone it down. Learning to dispute negative thoughts might take time and practice, but it is worth every effort. Once you start looking at it you’ll probably be surprised by how much of your thinking is inaccurate, exaggerated, or focused solely on the negatives of the situation. Here are a few ways to work through it.
Focus On Something Else
Over-thinking involves focusing on a train of thought that goes around and around. You can stop that train of thought by focusing on something else, ANYTHING ELSE! Read a book, breathe, get outside for 5 minutes, rest, make lunch, whatever it takes to break that thought pattern. We can stay in the victim state forever if we don’t choose to break free of the patterns.
You might ask yourself, “Is that really true? Is there another way to look at this situation? Is thinking this way helping me to feel good or to achieve my goals?” You may also look for some benefits. If you missed that job promotion, are there any lessons for the future you can take from the situation? Or could another opportunity come out of it? Was that really right for you, for your path?
Listen To Your Body
Use your feelings as your cue to reflect on your thinking. Whenever you find yourself feeling depressed, angry, anxious or upset, use this as your signal to stop and become aware of your thoughts. I say this all of the time, your body knows exactly what you need, LISTEN TO IT!
So Why Do We Do It?
Why are you negatively talking down to yourself? BECAUSE YOU WANT TO BE BETTER! So why are we focusing on what is wrong, bad, not exactly where we want it to be and creating more of just that? Up until now you may have been unaware of your thoughts manifesting your reality, but you have the tools to build a healthier thought pattern now. Focus on what is going well in your life, I can promise you there are some! Dwelling on the past, what has gone wrong and what isn’t going right for you will only manifest more of those patterns for you. It’s a hard concept for some to accept that we are our own creators but until we believe that, we are continuing the cycle of giving away our own power.
Moving Forward – Get To The Source
Recognizing that your current way of thinking might be self-defeating can sometimes motivate you to look at things from a different perspective. You can conquer your negative self-talk today by challenging yourself with the questions above every time you catch yourself thinking something negative to yourself. When you find the source of why you do it, you can kick it for good.
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